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Iowa sports betting gets the green light, starts in two weeks

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What is Iowa most famous for? “Corn and caucus” are what most Americans would say, but in two weeks, you can add “covering the spread” to the list.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the state’s sports betting rules in a meeting on Tuesday, hitting their target and setting the start date for August 15 at noon CT.

While 18 of the state’s 19 casinos were approved during the meeting, commissioner Jeff Lamberti said told KCCI Des Moines, “There is a likelihood all of them might not be ready to go on (August 15).”

Lamberti added the rules were enacted to keep bettors’ accounts safe, help prevent problem gambling, and protect the integrity of sports betting.

“The rules are designed to do just that, to make sure types of bets are approved by the commission (and) that there is good integrity and responsibility,” Lamberti said.

Time also played a huge factor during the IRGC meeting. With the rules approved, Iowa will be ready to accept wagers before college football begins on August 24 and the NFL starts on September 5, kicking off the biggest betting season of the year in the United States.

Iowa sports betting details

Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know before the Iowa sportsbooks begin to launch in mid-August:

Start date: August 15 at noon CT

Launch date: TBD – likely the same as the start date

Minimum age: 21 years old

Betting allowed: In-person, online, and mobile

Sports allowed: All professional and college sports

Restrictions: No prop bets allowed on games with in-state college teams

Registration: In-person required for online and mobile until January 1, 2021

First sportsbook: TBD – possibly Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona

Mobile launch: TBD – 15 casinos are exploring partnerships

License fee: $45,000 and $10,000 annual renewal

Tax rate: 6.75%

Daily fantasy sports: DFS for pro sports will likely be ready when the 2019 NFL season starts, but DFS for college sports is prohibited until May 1, 2020. DFS operators will be subject to a $5,000 license fee and a 6.75% tax rate.

How Iowa legalized sports betting

The Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, known as PASPA, on May 14, 2018, allowing 49 states and the District of Columbia to join the previously exempt Nevada in legalizing and regulating sportsbooks in their respective jurisdictions.

In the nearly 15 months since PASPA was struck down, nine states — Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia — now offer sportsbook along with Nevada.

The Iowa sports betting bill was passed by the General Assembly in April, and Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the legislation in May — nearly one year to the day after the PASPA repeal.

When sportsbooks begin to launch after the IRGC’s rules go into effect on August 15 at noon CT, Iowa will become the 11th state, and the third of 2019, to offer sports betting.

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