Sports gambling rules approved for August 15th start

WEST DES MOINES — Sports betting rules were approved Tuesday in less time than you have to wait for a television timeout at a football game.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the rules at their meeting in West Des Moines. Commissioner Jeff Lamberti made the motion, and the rules were approved unanimously.  Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko says the casinos can begin offering sports betting at noon on August 15th.

The commission also approved the sports gambling licenses for 18 of the 19 casinos Tuesday, with the Casino Queen in Marquette the only one to not yet apply for a license. Ohorilko says the commission will be meeting with each of them during the next two weeks.

“Those meetings are intended to work through every control that’s required in the rules to give feedback to the operators — so that they know if they are okay in certain areas — or there are areas where they still need to go back and beef up.” He says the IRGC has been moving forward quickly since the governor signed the law, with the public hearing on the rules earlier this month. “The industry really request a timeline that has been very aggressive, but the commission has been trying to keep up with that. We have been able to meet those deadlines, but we haven’t been able to meet with every applicant,” Ohorilko says.

Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko.

Ohorilko says the casinos have been developing their sports gambling apps and betting areas on site at their own pace. “We wanted everyone to have an opportunity to start on the same date. And that was important to that we were providing a fair opportunity for everyone. August 15th is that date,” Ohorilko says. “Some of the operators, August 15th isn’t as important of a date — maybe it’s college football season or pro football season. So,they’ll all have an opportunity to start on the 15th, but if they are not ready or chose to wait, they’ll have the opportunity to do that.”

He says sports gambling is the focus right now in the gambling industry. “There are more and more states considering it. I believe Indiana is very close, similar to Iowa. So, we are starting to see the Midwest considering it. Illinois just passed legislation as well,” according to Ohorilko.

Ohorilko believes there are 12 other states now that offer sports wagering.