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Sports books update rules for possible football COVID cancelations

Sports betting kiosk at Diamond Jo Worth casino near Northwood

DES MOINES — The college and pro football seasons are expected to feature a full schedule this season — but some games could be canceled if there is a COVID-19 outbreak.

What happens if you bet on a game that gets canceled? Iowa Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says sports gambling operators have house rules that deal with that possibility. “House rules are very different than the general sports wagering rules. House rules get very detailed, very specific,” according to Ohorilkoh. “And so there is a lot of discretion that the sportsbooks get to apply with those house rules — and they are very different from one sportsbook to another,” according to Ohorilkoh.

He says the sportsbooks updated the rules as the details came out about how the NFL and conferences would handle COVID. “It’s something that every online sportsbook has, they’re posted, it’s not something that most customers would look at, you wouldn’t think you would need to look at it,” he says.

Ohorilkoh says you should read over the house rules before making a bet this season. “We’re really just telling customers if they are actively participating in the NFL and college football to take the time to read those house rules related to cancellations,” Ohorilko says.

He says it likely won’t be a problem. “For most of the sportsbooks in Iowa, we’re seeing them just refunding all of those bets. But at the end of the day we are recommending that everyone take a look at those house rules if they are an active player,” he says.

Ohorilko says the Racing and Gaming Commission will keep an eye on the situation throughout the season. “The commission would get involved if there was anything that seemed arbitrary, or capricious, or just not fair,” Ohorilko says. He says the sportsbook operators are looking forward to having a full college and pro football season after seeing so many games canceled by the pandemic in 2020.


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