SUNDAY TALK: Upmeyer on Whether Iowa Should Legalize Sports Betting?

The State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines this week with lots of visitors stopping at the Capitol during breaks in the action.  It was great to see all the friends and family members in Des Moines who came to cheer on their wrestlers!

Congratulations to all our

The State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines this week with lots of visitors stopping at the Capitol during breaks in the action.  It was great to see all the friends and family members in Des Moines who came to cheer on their wrestlers!

Congratulations to all our local athletes who competed at the State Tournament this week.  I’m looking forward to seeing more folks from home as the girls and boys basketball tournaments get underway over the next few weeks!

One of the topics that we are considering this session is the issue of sports betting.  This is a new conversation and something we have never considered because it was prohibited by federal law.  However, last year the United States Supreme Court struck down that law and determined that it was up to the states to decide whether or not they want to have sports betting.  This has led many states to already legalize sports betting and begin regulating that activity.

We want to take our time on this topic and make sure that we do it right.  Iowans can expect thorough vetting and healthy discussion before we pass any sort of legislation.  That’s why members of our State Government Committee have been studying the issue, looking at what other states are doing, and considering how legal sports betting would work here in Iowa.

Last week, a subcommittee hearing was  held to gather input from all the interested parties.  They heard from Iowa’s casinos, the religious community, the Iowa Lottery, the horse racing industry, and opponents of expanded gambling, among many other interested Iowans.  They discussed several facets of the legislation including who should be allowed to offer sports betting, what the tax rate should be, whether there should be a mobile option, gambling addiction treatment services, and other topics important to this discussion.

Here are some things we have found out:

  • Gambling on sports is happening whether or not it is legal.  Nationally, this is a $150 billion enterprise.  We can either continue to allow a black market to operate or we can establish a framework for regulating that type of activity.  If we regulate it, we can more easily help those suffering from gambling addiction access treatment.
  • The tax revenue generated from sports betting is not significant or reliable.  In the states that have already legalized this, actual revenue received has come in well below estimates.  While some are talking about funding various initiatives with the potential revenue from sports betting, it is not a huge sum of money. 

There are many additional questions that still  need to be answered and the subcommittee is working through that in a bipartisan way.

Like I said at the beginning of this newsletter, this is a new topic.  We don’t know where Iowans stand on sports betting or whether they even want this type of gaming.  We will continue to listen to Iowans and all stakeholders as we move forward.  I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

With session underway, please feel free to reach out and share your thoughts on legislation or let me know if you need assistance dealing with a state agency or department.  I can be reached by email at Linda.Upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at (515) 281-3521. local athletes who competed at the State Tournament this week.  I’m looking forward to seeing more folks from home as the girls and boys basketball tournaments get underway over the next few weeks!

One of the topics that we are considering this session is the issue of sports betting.  This is a new conversation and something we have never considered because it was prohibited by federal law.  However, last year the United States Supreme Court struck down that law and determined that it was up to the states to decide whether or not they want to have sports betting.  This has led many states to already legalize sports betting and begin regulating that activity.

We want to take our time on this topic and make sure that we do it right.  Iowans can expect thorough vetting and healthy discussion before we pass any sort of legislation.  That’s why members of our State Government Committee have been studying the issue, looking at what other states are doing, and considering how legal sports betting would work here in Iowa.

Last week, a subcommittee hearing was  held to gather input from all the interested parties.  They heard from Iowa’s casinos, the religious community, the Iowa Lottery, the horse racing industry, and opponents of expanded gambling, among many other interested Iowans.  They discussed several facets of the legislation including who should be allowed to offer sports betting, what the tax rate should be, whether there should be a mobile option, gambling addiction treatment services, and other topics important to this discussion.

Here are some things we have found out:

  • Gambling on sports is happening whether or not it is legal.  Nationally, this is a $150 billion enterprise.  We can either continue to allow a black market to operate or we can establish a framework for regulating that type of activity.  If we regulate it, we can more easily help those suffering from gambling addiction access treatment.
  • The tax revenue generated from sports betting is not significant or reliable.  In the states that have already legalized this, actual revenue received has come in well below estimates.  While some are talking about funding various initiatives with the potential revenue from sports betting, it is not a huge sum of money. 

There are many additional questions that still  need to be answered and the subcommittee is working through that in a bipartisan way.

Like I said at the beginning of this newsletter, this is a new topic.  We don’t know where Iowans stand on sports betting or whether they even want this type of gaming.  We will continue to listen to Iowans and all stakeholders as we move forward.  I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

With session underway, please feel free to reach out and share your thoughts on legislation or let me know if you need assistance dealing with a state agency or department.  I can be reached by email at Linda.Upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at (515) 281-3521.