Sports gambling isn’t legal in Iowa yet, but this hasn’t stopped a local casino from putting together plans to launch a sportsbook. The Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington has everything lined up and, as soon lawmakers sign off on a sports gambling bill, it’ll be ready to pull the trigger. To ensure that the operations are in line with regulations, the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission (RGC) is going to review the venue’s plan and two related contracts for the construction and operation of the sportsbook.
According to local media outlet KCGR, the RGC is set to review a contract designed to oversee the construction of the venue, which would be led by DesignWise, an interior design and services company out of Minnesota that works with the commercial and hospitality industries.
The commission is also going to review a separate contract that would see Australia-based gambling operator PointsBet to help manage the sports gambling activity. PointsBet is already active in New Jersey and is currently looking to expand across the United States.
Iowa is one of a growing number of states that are contemplating some type of sports gambling expansion. Lawmakers in both chambers of legislation have been discussing separate, but similar, bills to authorize sportsbooks and the Senate version has seen the most recent movement, finding support by the Senate Ways and Means subcommittee almost two weeks ago. It is now looking for approval by the full committee and, if granted, the bill will be identical to the House version. This would allow the bills to be consolidated and possibly find approval much quicker.
If a bill is approved all the way through the political chain as it stands, it would allow digital and in-person sports wagers and the activity would be assessed a tax of 6.75% on annual gross revenue. Time is running out for the bill to finish the gauntlet, as the regular legislative session ends on May 3. The bill needs to make it through both chambers before being sent to Governor Kim Reynolds, who has already stated that she supports sports gambling legislation in order to be able to regulate the industry.