Industry Reports

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Considers Possible Addition of Sports Betting Services

The administrator of Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) Brian Ohorilko revealed that the body which controls and monitors the pari-mutuel and horse and dog racing and riverboat gambling industries in the state is ready to embrace sports betting. Mr. Ohorilko explained that the Commission has already started a research on sports betting.

The IRGC administrator further shared that the Commission has been doing research related to daily fantasy sports for a few years now. With the DFS matters, which were discussed three to four years ago, the scope of the research has grown into sports gambling operations, too, after the latest US Supreme Court ruling which lifted the federal ban on sports betting services. Now, as a result of the Supreme Courtโ€™s decision, the US states are allowed to decide on themselves whether to add sports betting services to their gambling sectors or not.

According to Mr. Ohorilko, local casino operators have also been considering the addition of sports betting services to their existing offerings. He said that the recent status quo change requires the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to make sure it is aware of all aspects of sports betting services and their legalization and also be ready with a position on the matter in case that the local legislature requires some assistance with the regulation of the issue.

Iowa Lawmakers Consider Sports Betting Expansion

The representative of the IRGC explained that the regulatory bodyโ€™s role would be quite extensive as far as sports betting is concerned, as it would be engaged in drafting rules and keeping the regulation of the issue in place. Of course, the day-to-day regulation would also be necessary, so the watchdog would have to see that is manageable, so there would not be a need for much additional staff to take care of that. According to Mr. Ohorilko, the Commission would only have a supporting role in the entire process once the decision is made.

He further confessed that the Commission was not ready with its final position on the sports betting issues, but it was ready to make whatever stateโ€™s legislature asks it to do. Ohorilko revealed that casino sector lobbyist groups were calling to Iowa legislators to allow casinos licensed in the state to run sports betting operations, while the Iowa Lotteryโ€™s board of directors was making a research on the possible addition of a sports lottery service.

Iowa Lottery officials have revealed that a number of the largest lottery retailers have been interested in providing sports lottery in their stores in case that local legislators give the green light to sports betting operations are legalizes in the state.

The ruling of the US Supreme Court earlier this year has made state lawmakers start planning a possible passage for a yet-to-be-defined proposal for sports betting legalization. As a matter of fact, the first bill on the matter was officially introduced last week, but for the time being, it lacks details on the sports on which local residents would be able to bet, as well as on the possible setting for future betting shops.