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Sports betting still needs regulation before bets can be placed

As you may know, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law last week that allows certain types of sports betting in Iowa by gamblers 21 and older. Although the law technically went into effect upon Reynolds' signature, the State Racing and Gambling Commission still has to draft regulations to make the betting fully legal.

Under the new law, what will be legal are bets on college and professional games, racing, and other sporting events, including fantasy sports, as long as the outcome is determined by the performances of two or more individual athletes.

What will not be legal to bet on:

  • Interscholastic sports
  • Minor league sporting events
  • Semi-pro events
  • Performances of individual athletes in single games or matches of Iowa college sporting events
  • Performances of athletes in international events who are under 18

It used to be that sports gambling was illegal under a 1992 federal law, with certain exceptions. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Murphy v. NCAA that the federal law violated the 10th Amendment by illegally requiring states to enact and enforce a federal law.

The new law was opposed by some lawmakers out of concern that it might increase the rate of gambling addiction. Others argued, however, that sports gambling is already occurring, but without state taxes or regulation. The law puts sports betting on the same footing as other forms of gambling in Iowa.

"This is an industry that is here. This bill regulates it, taxes it and polices it," said one state rep in support of the new law.

The new law taxes net gambling revenues at 6.75%. The Associated Press estimates that will bring in between $2.3 million and $4 million in annual revenue.

Iowa isn't the only state legalizing sports gambling after the Supreme Court's decision in Murphy v. NCAA. Earlier this month, both Montana and Indiana passed laws authorizing sports betting of various types. Meanwhile, the NCAA has relaxed its attitude towards college sports gambling. It has eliminated a rule that once prohibited NCAA championships from being held in states where gambling was legal.

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