Iowa Bill Aims to Legalize Mobile and Online Sports Betting

Not long after an announcement that a new bill is in the works for Iowa’s eventual sports betting market, Senator, Roby Smith, has delivered on his promise and introduces Senate Study Bill 1168 that could kill two birds with one stone: online as well as mobile sports betting.

In addition to these forms of sports wagering, another vertical could benefit if the bill turns into a legislation: fantasy sports. Smith, who is also a chair of the Committee on State Government, worked with a team of lawmakers in order to authorize professional and college sport events wagering.

The said activities would be undertaken, according to the legislative piece, at 19 gambling facilities in state, including casinos and racetracks.

Age Limit – 21

The bill defines the age of 21 as a lower limit for partaking in sports betting and fantasy sports games. Also, those users willing to place wagers via internet will need to register in-person at a venue of their choice that has an authorized sportsbook.

Iowa’s General Assembly will be deciding on the cost of licenses (there’s no mention of this anywhere in the bill)…

…which will be obligatory if gambling properties wish to begin offering online and mobile betting. Just like the undefined cost of a license, the duration of their validity is yet to be determined. The only thing hinted at is that there will be a renewal fee that operators will have to cash out – but whether this will be yearly, every five years or something else is yet unclear.

Tax Rates Are Not Set

Another aspect that remains to be determined are the tax rates…

…sports wagers net receipts will be taxed, but further discussions will define the exact percentage. Fantasy sports taxation is mentioned in similar context – it will be instated, but at an unknown rate.

However, fantasy sports is mentioned in the bill’s language with a lot more clarity in regards to licensing – a fantasy sports license will expire after three years, though renewal fees are to be determined.

No Mention of Integrity Fee

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will take it as an obligation to inform relevant professional leagues’ authorities on any possible anomalies and abnormal patterns in betting, if such instances get detected. This is needed in order to protect the integrity of sports…

…although nowhere in Bill 1168 is the integrity fee mentioned.

This bill is already eighth of its kind presented before the Senate of the state. The legislative session of the state of Iowa will run until May 3rd.

Big Guns Already Positioning Themselves

Anticipating the positive outcome of Iowa’s decision-making on sports betting, industry behemoth, William Hill, has already taken a step towards the future market opening.

Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel has signed an exclusive multi-year deal with the US subsidiary of the British conglomerate which will put them in charge of the casino’s eventual sportsbook when the time for its launch is ripe.

Prairie Meadows CEO and President, Gary Palmer, claims there is an “unbelievable interest” for sports betting in Iowa which he calls “an exciting proposition.”


“New Iowa bill proposes online and mobile sports betting”,, February 20, 2019.

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