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Governor signs law making it clear Iowa casinos can simulcast races run outside US

DES MOINES — The governor has signed legislation that makes it legal for Iowa casinos to take bets on horse and dog races that are being run in foreign countries as well as in the United States.

Iowa casinos have featured live broadcasts of races outside the US for years, but in December state regulators suspended the practice and asked legislators to make it clear it’s legal under Iowa law. During debate in the legislature in May, Senator Roby Smith of Davenport said state regulators have used safeguards in the past to exclude simulcasts from some foreign tracks and will do so in the future.

“In the research of this bill, I called the Racing and Gaming Commission’s Brian Ohorilko, who is in charge of that,” Smith said. “He has assured me that over the past number of years they have taken into account the corruption — if there is — at the track, condition of the track, condition of the workers and the condition of the animals, so they can choose not to use that track if they think there’s a problem in any one of those things.”

It’s been legal since 1989 to simulcast horse and dog races at Iowa casinos and take bets on the races. In addition to the so-called “triple crown” in America, the world’s most-watched horse races are staged in places like Paris, Tokoyo, England, Australia, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Greyhound racing is only legal in eight countries and the number of tracks in the US continues to decline.

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