Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to receive public input on sports betting rules

ALTOONA, Iowa (KCRG) -- Iowans will have a chance to respond to proposed rules for sports betting in Iowa on Thursday.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports wagering. Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill in May to allow sports betting in the state. The legislation took effect immediately but the commission needed to come up with rules to regulate it.

On July 1, the commission released proposed rules. The commission lays out the following criteria for a casino that wants a license for sports betting. It must be compliant with state and local laws regarding fire, health construction, zoning and similar matters. It must also have gaming integrity – officers, partners and shareholders of the operation have to have a good reputation and moral character.

A casino’s license for sports betting will last for three calendar years. It will expire unless an extension is granted by Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko.

Anyone wagering on sports needs to be 21 years of age or older and must establish an account at the casino they want to play at. The commission’s policy says all participants must conduct sports wagering in a manner to protect the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare of the state. Acting unsuitable is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including revocation. Activities that are prohibited include failing to comply with federal, state and local laws pertaining to the facility. Also, casinos cannot allow cheating and need to take action once they discover cheating.

Casinos have to submit their internal controls to the racing and gaming commissioner 30 days before fantasy sports contest operations or sports betting can start. The commission says that submission must include rules that prohibit coaches, athletic trainers, officials, players, or other individuals who participate in an authorized sporting event from placing bets. It also says people with direct connection to these individuals can’t bet on sports. Casinos have to report any illegal activity within 72 hours.

Casinos have to have a plan for treatment of problem gambling by identifying problem gamblers, creating controls for these people and making available a substantial number of Iowa Gambling Treatment Program advertisements, printed materials and hotline numbers. Casinos also have to have a process for gamblers to be able to put self-imposed limits on deposits and monetary participation.

Any interested casinos will have to submit a floor plan identifying a designated sports wagering area, including the location of wagering kiosks, to the administrator for approval. A sign also has to be in the area saying this is not accessible to people under 21 years old.

Administrator Ohorilko says the commission will probably take action on these rules at a special meeting on July 30. He said they also could start accepting casino applications on that date. The commission would like to have the rules finalized by mid-August, a few weeks before football season which is also the busy sports betting season.

The Commission will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and the public hearing on the rules will follow at 9:45 a.m.