Wednesday April 12th, a panel of state lawmakers approved a proposal to legalize fantasy sports betting, including online DFS websites like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Senator Bill Dotzler said: “It's my view that fantasy sports betting is a cultural and social phenomenon that is growing in this country, and it is occurring in Iowa whether we like it or not. I believe this bill is a step in the right direction to regulate something that is occurring in our state.”
Last month an Iowa House committee approved a similar bill, but no legislative activity was taken since. The Senate bill, however, establishes a state regulatory structure and penalties, taxes the industry and places oversight in the hands of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Last year, DFS exceeded $2 billion in entry fees, and according to the gambling research firm Eilers Research could exceed $14 billion by 2020.
Opponents of the bill say they don't want to see an expansion of gambling in the state, particularly online. Brian Carter, a lobbyist for the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church said: “It is still gambling, and it opens the door to more internet gambling. I urge you to look at it, whether it really is better for the common good of Iowa.”
Six states have legalized DFS so far, while more than a dozen still have legislation pending.