Could Iowa be on the radar for online casino legislation this year?

Shutterstock/Abramova Kseniya

Iowa galloped across the finish line in August 2019 as one of the first states to launch legal online sports betting. Since then the Hawkeye State trotting idle on any new game expansion.

However, Iowa could emerge in 2022 as a dark horse candidate to legalize online gambling, or at least move the conversation about it forward. One factor that could lead to this is cross-border competition for neighbors’ gambling dollars. Illinois and Nebraska.

In the east, Illinois lawmakers got their own online casino bill through committee, but the bill didn’t progress further in 2021. This year may bring different news , because the Illinois General Assembly should again resume discussions on the bill. However, for now, committees are meeting remotely and House and Senate sessions are completely on hold due to coronavirus concerns. The sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Senator Cristina Castro, believes that the chances of success of the effort are better for 2023 than this year.

New Nebraska Retail Gaming Competition

To the west, Nebraska racetracks are set to add retail casino games. On December 17, the Nebraska State Races and Gaming Commission approved rules that will govern the operations of the casino.

Nebraska Public Media reports:

“Commission Chairman Dennis Lee indicated that applications from existing racetracks would likely be considered first, but they cannot be filed until the rules are approved by the Attorney General and the Governor.”

Stuck in the middle, Iowa has yet to approach the starting gate of online casino gambling in the United States. However, its legislative session only started on Monday, so there is still plenty of time.

Evan Johnson, a tax legislative analyst with the Legislative Services Agency (LSA), confirmed it for online poker report yesterday:

“At the moment, I am not aware of any legislation introduced on this subject. It is only the start of the session, so it could change from one day to the next.

LSA is a nonpartisan legislative agency serving the Iowa Legislature.

Iowa appears to be gearing up to discuss online casinos

from iowa 3 million residents helped set a record for Hawkeye online sportsbook gross gaming revenue (GGR) in November, generating $19.7 million, according to RPO sister site Legal sports report.

It is therefore no coincidence that operators who take bets on Iowa online sportsbooks, including DraftKings, PointsBet and Unibet, access to the already secure market for their hypothetical online casinos.

Even if operators are excited about their prospects in the state, they will compete for the shared attention of lawmakers, RPO sister post Play in Iowa reported.

The October 26 article – which deals with Overdo it securing its own access to the online casino market – russ mitchell cited Wes Ehrecke. He is the President and CEO of Iowa Gaming Association, which defends retail casinos in Iowa. These brick-and-mortar casinos could see their revenue decline if border states raise the bar.

Ehrecke said lawmakers will likely campaign for re-election over the summer and fall.

He said Play in Iowa:

“The likelihood of this progressing in 2022 is less than 50% right now.”

Ehrecke did not return RPOasked for an update yesterday. However, even a small chance is better than most US states this year. For much of the country, online casinos aren’t even discussed yet.

Officials with the Iowa Races and Gaming Commission, Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts and Attorney General of Nebraska Doug Peterson didn’t come back either RPO‘s requests for comment yesterday.