The Iowa Gaming Association plans to introduce legislation this year that would legalize sports wagering in Iowa. (MGN Online)
DES MOINES, Iowa —
A proposal that would legalize sports wagering in Iowa will hit the desks of state lawmakers when they return for the 2019 session in January.
Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, which represents 19 of the state’s casinos, said he’s already begun talking with leaders in the GOP-controlled statehouse about legislation that would allow sports betting in casinos statewide and also via mobile app.
The plan would allow betting on professional and collegiate sports.
“In Iowa, if we are proactive in getting this passed in the upcoming session and other states do not, that could be a real advantage,” Ehrecke said.
Lawmakers introduced legislation last year to bring it to Iowa, but they didn’t advance it for passage. That was in part due to a federal ban on the practice, which was struck down by the United States Supreme Court in May. The decision now opens the door for states to opt into the sports betting industry, which the Iowa Gaming Association vows to do.
Eight states have already legalized sports wagering and legislation proposed by the Iowa Gaming Association would do the same in Iowa by granting the state’s casinos the authority to build sportsbooks in their facilities. It would regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, Ehrecke said, which will set rules and regulations.
Players could also try their luck on their smartphones, after registering an account in person at one of the state’s casinos. This will help ensure players are 21 years old–the legal age–Ehrecke said.
“For patrons of Iowa, we believe many people are going to enjoy watching and betting on sports in regulated, legal environment,” Ehrecke said.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, a top-ranking Republican in the legislature, signaled this week that there will be a discussion on the topic when lawmakers return to Des Moines January 14.
“That’s just a really interesting topic,” Upmeyer said. “I’m looking forward to see what Iowans want done with that or not done with that maybe.”
In the United States, bi-partisan legislation has reportedly been filed that would bring federal oversight to the nation’s recently-deregulated sportsbetting industry and require operators to solely utilize data officially licensed or supplied by sports leagues.
According to a report from the Associated Press news service, the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 was introduced by senior United States Senators, Orrin Hatch and Charles ‘Chuck’ Schumer (pictured), on Wednesday in the wake of this year’s invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the previous Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibition.
Eight leading the way:
The news service reported that since this May ruling by the nation’s highest court, sportsbetting has gone live in the states of New Mexico, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Pennsylvania while lawmakers in a further 30 are said to be considering whether to follow suit. It detailed that this state of affairs has initiated a complex debate over what role the federal government should play, if any, in regulating the safety and security of sportsbetting.
Schumer reportedly told the Associated Press…
“I knew that Congress had an obligation to ensure that the integrity of the games we love was never compromised. That is why I believe the time is now to establish a strong national integrity standard for sportsbetting that will protect consumers and the games themselves from corruption.”
Road to ratification:
The Associated Press reported that the legislation from the Utah Republican and his Democratic counterpart from New York will now require the majority consent of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives alongside the signature of President Donald Trump before becoming law. If this happens, the news service explained that individual states would only be permitted to license sportsbetting operators under a strict set of guidelines to be worked out by the Office of the United States Attorney General.
The legislation has reportedly already received support from the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the PGA Tour despite the fact that it does not mention the provision of ‘integrity fees’ to organizations such as these.
The Associated Press reported that the ratification of the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 would furthermore lead to the establishment of the National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse. This body would purportedly be tasked with looking for signs of corruption by collecting anonymized real-time sportsbetting data including the type, date and amount on every wager placed in the United States.
Additionally, the proposed legislation would permit wagering on professional sports and events from the Olympic Games while requiring the eight states that already offer sportsbetting to submit their licensing procedures and practices to a thorough investigation by the United States Department of Justice.
Problem gambling clauses:
Finally, the news service reported that the passage of the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 would also lead to the establishment of a nationwide voluntary self-exclusion program for problem gamblers as well as a scheme to fund courses designed to help those with such issues.
Hatch reportedly told the Associated Press…
“The legislation we’ve introduced today is the culmination of eight months of high-level meetings, discussions and negotiations and will serve as a placeholder for the next Congress should they decide to continue working to address these issues.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A new legislative session fast approaches in Tennessee. Top of mind on Capitol Hill, sports gambling, thanks in part to an opinion by the State Attorney General that could simplify the process.
A bill has already been proposed in both the house and senate, but would Governor-Elect Bill Lee support the bi-partisan legislation?
There’s money to be made at Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone and more. A new bill, the first filed for this upcoming session in the House, hopes to cash in.
“We already have billions of dollars that leave the state, going to other states to have casino gambling,” said Rick Staples (D), State Rep for District 15. “So here’s a chance to do in state sports betting, that would capture dollars.”
Some argue spots gambling constitutes as a lottery, which would require a constitutional amendment.
But an opinion by State Attorney General, Herbert Slatery III, recently found that sports gambling could be considered a game of skill.
Simply put, this opens the door for HB0001, potentially sparking fireworks on the capital floor.
Governor-elect Bill Lee shared his concerns during the final Gubernatorial debate this year
“I think that organized betting frequently develops into organized crime that we don’t need in our state,” Lee explained. “It also generally has the most negative impact on the folks in our community that have the least income. People that live in poverty are the most negatively affected by legalized gambling in this state, and I think that would be the case with sports betting.”
The bill would not be a state-wide mandate but puts the decision into the hands of local governments.
“I just don’t believe the states should mandate to local governments,” said Rep. blank. “Let’s pass legislation that lets the locals decide what they want for them in order to take advantage of this money.”
The bill would place a 10% tax on sports gambling, used to buoy a number of local programs, including education and infrastructure.
Sports betting in the United States has largely been confined to racetracks, casinos and lottery retailers, Gouker said.
“We don’t really have a model where we have it at bars on streets,” Gouker said. “It is fairly common in the U.K. to have betting shops all over the place.”
If restaurants or bars on Beale Street were interested in offering sports betting, they’d likely work with an outside party that would book the bets, he said.
Chad Millman, chief content officer for the sports media company The Action Network, said he thinks sports betting on Beale Street could create more traffic for the businesses there, but that limiting it to Beale Street wouldn’t allow for a great impact in terms of revenue.
“I think what we’ve seen generally is that when legislators try to limit where this can be done, then it doesn’t really have the net impact that anyone is hoping it could,” Millman said. “It’s a mobile business. If they’re trying to limit it to land-based operators on one particular block in a state, then it feels like an effort that will not reap the rewards they’re hoping it will.”
Commissioners and state leaders have said gambling revenue could raise funds for priorities such as education.
State Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, has filed a bill that would allow counties and municipalities to decide for themselves via referendum whether to allow sports betting. The senate sponsor for the bill is Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, Staples said.
Others in the legislature have also voiced support of sports betting, including State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, who requested Slatery’s opinion after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may legalize sports betting.
Staples’ bill may also give a picture of how sports betting could operate on Beale Street if approved. The bill allows for counties and municipalities to determine whether to limit it to a particular area.
The bill, as currently written, would allow for sports betting in places that serve food and alcohol, but would require the sports book to be “in an area separate and distinct from that part of the premises in which food and alcoholic beverages are sold.”
The bill would also allow for remote kiosks where people can place bets, although the licensee would be required to have a presence in the state.
The bill would also establish a commission to regulate sports betting with members selected by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
“The biggest point to make is that this is up to the locals, give them the choice if they want it or not to take advantage of these dollars,” Staples said.
Shelby County Commission Chairman Van Turner, who proposed the county’s resolution, said he had heard from several legislators that putting the item on the county’s legislative agenda might lend support for a statewide push for legalization.
He limited the resolution to ask for it on Beale Street so it could be localized and controlled at the beginning, Turner said.
“I think that will be a start,” Turner said. “If it works well it could perhaps be expanded.”
Katherine Burgess covers county government and the suburbs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.
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Thousands of tourists and patrons visit Beale Street every week.(Photo: The Commercial Appeal file photo)Buy Photo
The Shelby County Commission will ask the Tennessee General Assembly to allow sports betting on Beale Street.
“It’ll be isolated on Beale Street. I think it can be regulated, and we can use this money for other purposes that are good and meaningful and impactful throughout the county,” said Commission Chairman Van Turner in a meeting last week.
Turner said people in Memphis are already betting on sports — but that they take their tax dollars to Mississippi to do so legally.
The tax dollars from Beale Street sports betting could go toward educational purposes, commissioners said.
The commission passed the resolution unanimously.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that limited the regulation and taxing of professional sports by the states.
Commissioner Mick Wright said last week that he thought some of his constituents might oppose allowing sports betting on Beale, but that he recently saw a billboard in downtown Memphis that invited people to come to Mississippi to do their sports betting.
“If this is happening and it’s being advertised here, we might as well get the advantage of it,” Wright said.
Katherine Burgess covers county government and the suburbs. She can be reached at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.
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Almost seven months to the date after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed states to legalize sports betting, Mike Davis was the first in line at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia on Saturday morning, ready to place a bet on a college basketball game.
“I’m betting on Seton Hall over Rutgers, all day,” he said. “That’s the lock for the day.”
Behind him were at least a dozen more people looking to usher in a new era of gambling in the city as SugarHouse became the first casino in the Philadelphia area to offer it.
“We finally got it after all these years,” said Davis. “I’m just glad the federal government is blessing me right now.”
Shortly after a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, eager gamblers filed to the sportsbook to place their wagers. City Councilman Mark Squilla placed the first official bet, putting up $20 on the Eagles versus the Rams.
The new attraction should reduce illegal gambling and provide bettors a sense of security, while bringing in tax revenue for the city, Squilla said.
“Now you give people the opportunity to feel happy about themselves to be able to go and do it legally,” he said. “You don’t have to travel to Vegas or go to another city to do it. Therefore, you spend your dollars locally in the city of Philadelphia.”
Gamblers seemed to relish the convenience.
Davis, who lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Sports betting has been legal in the Garden State since June. He used to drive 45 minutes to place his bets in Delaware. Now, he only has to drive about 15 minutes to SugarHouse in Fishtown.
“I’m saving gas, tolls, and … it’s just a lot more convenient, so I might be coming out here a lot more,” he said.
Northeast Philadelphia resident Barbaro Rubio says he used to make his wagers at “the corner store.”
“Now, I don’t have to do that,” Rubio said. “I’ll come here.”
SugarHouse and its sister casino in Pittsburgh, Rivers Casino, are now the second and third in Pennsylvania to offer sports betting. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville became the first last month.
Though Saturday was the first officialday of sports betting at SugarHouse, gamblers beat Squilla and Davis to the sportsbook Thursday for the start of a two-day test period, supervised by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Having passed, SugarHouse’s sportsbook is now fully operating at its regular hours: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight; Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to midnight.
Evan Davis, vice president and general counsel of SugarHouse, said there has been a “steady flow of people” since the initial soft launch. He believes it’s a sign of good things to come.
“Judging by the way things have looked for the last two days and ten minutes or so, it looks like this is going to be a vibrant part of our business,” he said.
Sports betting in New Jersey has generated more than $73 million in gross revenue since June.
That number is making SugarHouse executives feel optimistic, along with the reception from local sports betters, even though Pennsylvania’s $10 million licensing fee for sports betting and 36 percent tax rate on gross sports wagering revenue is the highest in the country — more than four times that of New Jersey.
Despite this, Cheryl Duhon, general manager of SugarHouse, said “a tax environment is part of the gaming industry” and the casino would rather focus on “bringing in a whole new clientele.”
Todd Lambert of North Philadelphia is looking forward to a shorter commute to place his sports wagers. He said he also travels to Delaware, where sports betting began back in June, every week to bet “a couple dollars.”
“I can stop going to Delaware,” he said, “stop going across the line, traveling all that time. [It’s] quicker. That’s it.”