DES MOINES – Everything is still in its early stages, so what sports betting would look like is still up in the air. What is for sure, is that casinos, the Iowa Lottery and online fantasy sports all have competing ideas and want a piece of the pie.
Sports betting isn’t legal yet, but Prairie Meadows is already betting on it by joining forces with William Hill, a sports book operator.
“We wanted to partnernship with someone that has a lot of experience. Knows what they are doing,” says Praire Meadows CEO Gary Palmer.
Construction is well underway on a massive betting area at the casino in Altoona. Under the proposal, Prairie Meadows and other casinos in the state would allow gambling from your phone, among other things. : “We will be ready to go with one of the best in the country,” says Palmer.
But the central Iowa casino isn’t the only advocate for sports betting in the state, the Iowa Lottery wants a part as well. “Real world examples show that different types of sports gaming products can coexist within a state,” says Mary Neubauer from the Iowa Lottery.
Lottery officials want to monitor sports betting wherever lottery games are sold. Their proposal would make betting at convenience stores easier. “That’s largely a function of the retail environment itself where customers aren’t expected for an extended period of time,” says Neubauer.
But the Iowa Gaming Association says not so fast, they want sports betting just in casinos.
“We do question about having them involved with the sports betting process, there is a lot of risk and volatility involved with this,” says Wes Ehrecke of the Iowa Gaming Association.
Senator Tony Bisignano wants sports betting regulated but doesn’t know what it’ll look like.
This is just the beginning of what appears to be a very lengthy debate. Tomorrow, the same bill will be discussed, this time by house lawmakers.