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State commission approves sportsbook ‘pools wagering’ in Iowa

Sports betting kiosk at Diamond Jo Worth casino near Northwood

DES MOINES — State regulators are giving sportsbook operators permission to let Iowans place a specific kind of bet that may be popular during the upcoming NCAA tournament. It’s called pools wagering.

“In a typical sports wagering format, the customer is betting against the house or the sports book,” Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko said. “In this particular case, customers will be wagering against each other.”

There’s typically a fee to be part of the pool.

“Those fees are totaled. The house usually collects a percentage, typically between 5 and 10% is what we’ve seen in other some states and then the rest of the money is distributed back to the customers and it really depends on the type of contest and the rules,” Ohorilko said.

In some instances, it may be a winner-take-all scenario, while in others the top 10 or so finishers are paid. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted yesterday to allow this type of betting, at the request of DraftKings, but all sportsbook operators will now be able to collect these kind of wagers.

“Currently in the state of Iowa we have the more common types of sports wagers approved such as money lines, point spreads, totals,” Ohorilko said, “and as we are getting closer to the NCAA basketball tournament, it was really no surprise that we did get a request from the industry to consider pools wagering.”

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to begin March 18.

In other action yesterday, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted to renew the state operating licenses for 17 of the state’s casinos. The Isle of Capri in Waterloo and Prairie Meadows in Altoona each agreed to pay a $20,000 fine after minors were caught gambling on the casino floors.

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