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Governor Reynolds signs Iowa sports betting bill

Placing a bet on your favourite sports team is officially legal in Iowa. Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation allowing gambling on professional, collegiate and international sporting events, and Iowa has become the third state to approve legal sports betting in 2019 after Montana and Indiana.

It took about a week for Gov. Reynolds to sign a SF 617 bill, which authorizes sports betting for the state’s 19 casinos. Reynolds, a Republican, had not previously said whether she would sign the law. Lawmakers passed the measure last month with bipartisan support.

The plan is to have sports betting ready for the upcoming NFL season in the fall, with mobile to follow sometime after the retail books open. However, there will be an in-person registration requirement in place until 2021.

The law gives the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulatory authority over sports betting. There will be an application fee of $45k and a 7.5 per cent effective tax rate (6.75 per cent state tax), with a $10k annual renewal. It will be legal to bet on college games, but with no prop markets, like how many points a certain player will score.

A state with a population only around 3 million, Iowa’s market might be small compared to the likes of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but it should benefit from a lack of legal sports betting in Nebraska and Minnesota. However, betting will be limited to those 21 and older.

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