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Iowa set to launch sports betting on August 15


Iowa will launch its regulated sports wagering and fantasy sports market next week after the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission signed off on new rules for the US state.

The rules will come into effect from 12pm on August 15, with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds having signed legislation into law in May. Consumers will be able to place bets in-person, online and via mobile devices.

The Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs is set to be one of the first Iowa casinos to accept legal wagers in the state, having confirmed that it will launch services via its partnership with Penn National Gaming on August 15.

Ameristar Casino will open a new sportsbook at the renovated Amerisports Bar & Grill, complete with a wagering counter with ticket writer stations. Kiosks will also be located throughout the casino property for consumers to place bets.

NFL American football veteran Tim Dwight will place the first legal sports bet at the casino as part of the opening ceremony.

“Iowa is poised to become the first mid-western state to offer sports wagering since the federal ban was repealed last year,” Penn National chief executive Timothy Wilmott said.

“We appreciate the diligence of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that will allow us to begin offering this great new amenity at Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs prior to the kick-off of football season.”

Paul Czak, general manager at the Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, added: “Customers have been clamouring to place sports bets since the law passed earlier this year. Collegiate and professional sports are embedded in the culture of Iowa and Nebraska.

“We look forward to welcoming customers from across the region at the incredible new sports book at Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs.”

Licenses for the regulated Iowa market cost $45,000 (£37,000/€40,000) and all operators will be subject to a tax rate of 6.75% on their annual sports wagering net receipts.

Operators that secure a licence can enter partnerships with up to two entities to set up additional sites for sports betting, but only if the third party does not already hold a licence in Iowa.

Betting is permitted on professional and collegiate sports, but there will be a ban on wagering on player performance for athletes representing a college team in Iowa. There is also a temporary a ban on daily fantasy sports contests based on collegiate players until May 2020.

Image: Tony Webster