Racing and Gaming Commission hopes to have sports betting rules in place by football season

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) -- People could start legally betting on sporting events in Iowa as early as this fall. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says it would like to have rules finalized for sports betting before football season begins.

Governor Reynolds signed sports betting into law in May. This follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 that struck down a federal ban on sports wagering. The legislation took effect in May, but the commission has to come up with rules to regulate it.

Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko said Thursday during the commission's meeting, he would like to post rules for sports gambling by July 1. Then the commission would have a public hearing on the rules ten days later at its meeting at Prairie Meadows in Altoona. He said the commission would likely take action, like accepting casino applications, at a special meeting on July 30.

The commission says it wants to have the rules finalized by mid-August so that it has a few weeks of wagering before the busy sports betting season -- football season. Ohorilko says the commission is looking to other states, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to see what is working. Some of the proposed rules would include how casinos could handle underage gamblers, what types of bets can be placed and providing problem gambling controls.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the commission approved requests for three casinos -- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sioux City, Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort near Larchwood and Lakeside Casino near Osceola -- to start renovations to get ready for sports gambling to start. All three casinos will still have to qualify for a license and pass a background check. The commission says the projects ranged in size, but construction can start immediately.