Bill would distribute most of state taxes from sports betting to all 99 counties

DES MOINES — The Iowa House has approved a bill that sets up a distribution formula for the taxes the State of Iowa is collecting from casinos that offer sports wagering in Iowa.

Sports betting has been legal in Iowa since August of 2019, but unlike the rest of state gambling revenue, the taxes from sports betting has not been deposited in a state infrastructure fund. About $19.5  million  in taxes paid so from sports betting apps and sports book areas in Iowa casinos is essentially sitting in an escrow account today. The bill uses $7 million in that account to cover a backlog of applications for the Endow Iowa Tax Credit for donations to community foundations.

Representative Jacob Bossman of Sioux City says the bill also sets up a yearly spending plan for sports wagering taxes.  “It will direct $1.75 million to gambling addiction treatment, $1 million to supplement the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program so we don’t have that backlog again,” Bossman says, “and then the remaining money will be distributed to all 99 counties.”

Community foundations and non-profit corporations around the state will be eligible for that block of taxes from sports wagering.  “This bill distributes the sports wagering taxes to all 99 counties which is appropriate because sports wagering through apps is taking place throughout the state,” Bossman says.

Representative Timi Brown-Powers of Waterloo says the plan will put a little extra money for non-profits in areas of the state that have casinos.  “But most importantly this does distribute this money to 99 counties,” Brown-Powers says. “And that’s where it should be distributed to.”

The bill passed the House unanimously on Thursday night. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.