JEFFERSON – Sports gambling in Iowa still isn’t reality, but we’re inching closer to that changing. It all hangs on an official ruling from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. But before that’s approved, casinos are already rushing to get ready.
Wild Rose and Lakeside casinos are almost ready for the new era of sports betting.
“The current plan right now is to convert an existing portion of the lower level casino, it’ll be about 1200 square feet,” said Dave Monroe, the president of Lakeside Casino in Osceola.
Architects are already drawing up plans to build on the action once final approval comes from the racing and gaming commission.
.”What it does do is it creates energy, it expands our entertainment options for our guests and it sets us up to invite people in,” said Monroe.
“We’ve been anticipating and hoping for a little bit over a year,” said Travis Dvorak, the general manager for Wild Rose Casino Jefferson. “This year was very public about what was going on down in Des Moines, and so we had a lot of real positive attitude and a lot of positive attitude, hoping that things would work out.”
Since Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson opened four years ago, they’ve already brought in about 2.5 million people. They’re hoping once sports gambling becomes legal, they’ll be able to bring in a whole new crowd.
Wild Rose already has the infrastructure in place in its current sports bar.
“We didn’t think about it, we didn’t expect it, but it just flowed that way,” said Dvorak.
They started talking with Nevada casinos last year to get ready for their moment, like adding tickers, extra televisions and much more.
While fans won’t have full access to betting on their favorite Iowa college teams, Dvorak is confident the fans will still come. Under the law, fans won’t be able to bet on the outcome or any individual players from an Iowa Division I school, but they can vote on the over-under or the spread.
“Hawkeye fans and Cyclone fans and Panther, Bulldog fans, they’re going to come out and enjoy the bets that the IRGC does allow. It may be limited, but it’s still going to be fun and exciting,” said Monroe.
State lawmakers estimate the first year of sports gambling will generate between $2-4 million in revenue for Iowa. If there are no hangups, you can expect sports betting to begin in August.