Amendments Would Limit College In-Game Wagering In Iowa

  • IA HF 648 would legalize sports betting in Iowa
  • The new amendment would prevent in-game betting on college athletes
  • Bettors can still bet on Iowa college games

DES MOINES, Iowa – A State House committee added amendments to sports betting bill on Wednesday that would limit in-game betting on individual college athletes.

The House committee was discussing IA HF 648 which would authorize and legalize sports betting in Iowa. During discussions, amendments were added that would limit in-game wagering. These amendments do not ban betting on Iowa college games nor does it ban in-game betting on professional athletes.

The Added Amendments

Iowa colleges sent representatives to talk with lawmakers about sports betting in the past. They were concerned that since students have classes on individual college athletes, they could bribe them to shave points so they can win their bets. The colleges said that this is a unique issue that is only specific for college athletes and not for professionals.

Representative Dave Jacoby (D) agreed with the concerns that the colleges had and decided to introduce the amendment to prevent the issue from happening. This was not the only amendment that was added to the bill.

The second amendment that was added is that it helped allocated where revenue from sports betting would go. The bill currently calls for a 6.25 percent tax on sports betting. A quarter of that money will go into gambling addiction prevention measures.

The last amendment is that the Prairie Meadows Casino will need to pay 11 percent of revenue of sports betting to the horse racing industry.

Lawmakers At Odds With Sports Betting

Sports betting has always been a bipartisan issue. There are republicans and democrats that either support expanding on sports betting or they do not. Representative Steven Holt (R) is one of the individuals who are against sports betting.

"This is my personal opinion: I do not support expansion of gambling because I think it’s harmful to families," said Holt. "And so, I have never since I’ve been here voted for a bill that expanded gambling."

However, lawmakers are keenly aware that sports betting in Iowa is already taking place. Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R) said that the state is wanting to regulate the existing sports betting that is already going on.

"We are not approving an expansion of gambling today," said Kaufmann. "We are choosing to not ignore an expansion that is here. We are choosing to police, regulate and tax something that's already here."

IA HF 648 passed the bill and it will continue to move forward through the House. The legislation is expected to meet more challenges and changes as different lawmakers weigh in with their opinion. It is unclear whether or not this bill will become law but there are lawmakers who are hopeful that it will.

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