DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that establishes a legal way to bet on professional, collegiate and international sporting events.
It also legalizes fantasy sports contests and internet fantasy sports betting but delays betting based on college sporting event statistics until May 2020.
The new law excludes betting on some events, including minor leagues and in-state college team players.
Sports betting is limited to those 21 and older.
Reynolds, a Republican, has declined to suggest whether she supported the expansion of gambling in Iowa. She signed the bill on Monday.
The bill passed the Iowa House 67-31 April 22 after a vigorous floor debate, described by one Republican legislator as "the best debate I've seen this year." It passed the Senate a week before that, 31-18.
The law gives the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulatory authority over sports betting. The commission regulates the 19 state-licensed casinos in Iowa and its administrator, Brian Ohorilko, has said most of the state's casinos are expected to set aside onsite space for betting.
The casinos also will contract with online and mobile application vendors to set up bets electronically.
The IRGC had previously said it will immediately begin to develop rules for sports betting through casinos. Officials have said the rules likely will be implemented in July or August, before college sports and NFL games kick off in the fall.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City anticipates rolling out sports bets as soon as state regulators give their okay, Hard Rock spokesman Mike Adams said Monday night. The downtown casino is negotiating with a third-party entity to operate run the sports book and is working with an architect to select the best spot for the new gambling option.
"Right now, we're reviewing a number of options," Adams said. "We just have to see what is the best fit."
A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for states other than Nevada to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and racetracks. Iowa becomes the second state in the Midwest to do so, after Indiana.
The state stands to collect a 6.75 percent tax on the casinos' sports-betting “hold," which is the house’s share after bets have been settled.
Iowa's new sports wagering is expected to draw betters from neighboring states like Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Out-of-state bettors will be able to participate in sports betting using an app on their mobile phones. First, however, they would have to visit a casino in person to establish an account. The app would work only within Iowa’s borders.