OSCEOLA – The state of Iowa has approved the legalization of sports betting, taking effect statewide noon Aug. 15.
The bill, signed May 13 by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, puts Iowa on a list with seven other states to have passed a bill to legalize sports betting in 2019.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved regulated gambling licenses in 18 casinos across the state at the turn of the month, with expectations of more casinos picking up licenses over time.
The minimum age for gamblers is 21, with in-person identification approval.
“There’s hundreds of people that have been working on this from all over the country with both companies,” said Lakeside Hotel and Casino Vice President and General Manager David Monroe. “It’s cool because we’re literally (a day) away from it all coming together.”
Along with the approval of general wagering on events, daily fantasy sports – such as DraftKings and FanDuel – has been approved in the rules laid out by the IRGC.
Daily fantasy sports includes websites that allow users to create a team and wager an amount on said team for one day, as opposed to wagering on a real-life team. Daily fantasy sports is primarily popular on mobile devices.
Also included in the rules is the exclusion of individual player bets on players who are on Iowa based teams like the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones.
A prop bet is an individual wager on a player or team, such as selecting the first person to score a touchdown or to have a specific number of points in a quarter of play.
The rule only goes into effect if they are playing a home game or are within the state border and also extends to opponents of the aforementioned teams during their respective game day.
Bettors are also able to download the mobile app for William Hill, the official sportsbook of Lakeside Hotel & Casino.
“It’s very popular in Nevada, where we operate and other parts of the U.S.,” said Dan Shapiro, a representative of William Hill, on the mobile app. “The way it will work is that you can go into Lakeside and you can sign up for the William Hill mobile sports app, deposit money, and you can bet on sports on an app whereever you are in the state.”
Monroe mentioned that trained staff will assist those interested in setting up a mobile account, and that it is required for you to be approved by Lakeside in person to both prove age and to make the first deposit.
The intention of the app, explained Shapiro, is to not just limit the opportunity within the confines of the casino, but to make it accessible and easy to use almost anywhere.
Monroe said he is interested to see what way Iowans will lean with the accessibility of mobile betting compared to placing the bet in person with a ticket writer.
A ticket writer is someone who can assist bettors in placing their wager, providing more information and detail on the action.
The state of Iowa stands to collect a 6.75 percent tax on casino’s sportsbook “hold,” which is the share of the casino’s money after a bet has been settled.
The CCDC, Clarke County Develpment Corporation, is getting .75 percent of the revenue to put back into the community, according to Monroe.
Casinos are also required to pay a $45,000 fee to register for a book license and a $10,000 fee to renew the license annually.
Among local locations approved to pick up a sportsbook is Lakeside Hotel and Resort in Osceola, a 35-mile drive from Creston.
The location for the book is visible as soon as guests step off the escalator in the downstairs area of the casino and will feature 14 65-inch viewing monitors with 4K LCD displays and two 86-inch viewing monitors with 4K Ultra HD displays.
The set up for the sportsbook, tucked into a corner that has been remodeled into a modern viewing area, will hopefully draw casual bettors and fans of the sport who want to come out and watch a few games with some friends.
As of now, the expectations are for the book location to stay as is, with an opportunity to expand in size when reevaluated further down the road.
“In the current assumptions, the space we built will accommodate us for at least the next three to five years,” said Monroe. “There may be an opportunity to carry that theme throughout the rest of the lower level, we’ll see how our guests respond to it.”
With a constantly changing and updating betting board, William Hill has stated it will provide a deep sportsbook for bettors to place a wager on.
“It’s very in-depth,” said Shapiro. “We have coverage on all types of sports from around the world, really. ... There’s all types of options available.”
William Hill operates in over 100 casinos in Nevada and across four other states and was carefully selected out of an undisclosed list of other potential sportsbook operators.
“We did vet a lot of other operators and really felt strongly that this was the best opportunity for us,” said Monroe.
Shapiro mentioned that the most popular options, college sports and football, will be available along with multiple levels of auto racing and UFC fighting, to name a select few of the long list of options.
Shapiro also explained that he believes that the approval is a good thing for the state of Iowa as it can help those who have been doing it illegally do it without facing possible consequence in a safe environment
“It’s not like not going on illegally,” said Shapiro. “Not only in Iowa and small towns, but throughout the country. ... What (will happen) is we’re taxing it, regulating, making sure the people that are doing it legally will have protections to ensure that if they bet with a company like William Hill that they’re going to get paid when they win their bets.”
The move will also help create jobs for respective communities with roughly 50 jobs being created statewide when the law goes into effect at noon Thursday.
You can apply online for more information on the sportsbook at Lakeside Casino at https://aplayclub.net/sportsbook/.
“I am just absolutely thrilled with how the gaming commission came together to make this all possible,” said Monroe. “They’ve been amazing to work with and it’s been a small miracle that they’ve got this done as quickly as they did and I think they did everything imaginable to ensure the industry was afforded an opportunity at the start of the football season.”
The Lakeside Casino and Resort will be holding an event for its first legal bet placed at the casino Thursday at noon.
The opening celebrations will be led by David Monroe, Vice President and General Manager of Lakeside Hotel & Casino, as well as William Hill and Affinity Gaming executives.
The festivities will include a ribbon cutting ceremony and a check presentation, along with the first ceremonial bet placed in the sports book by World War II veteran Clarke County resident Joseph Reynolds.
The presentation for Reynolds behind at 11:30 a.m. at the casino.