First year of Iowa sports betting gains yards, but not touchdown | Local News

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The state gaming administrator said at least eight new sportsbook companies have applied to be licensed to operate in Iowa as the Jan. 1 registration change approaches. Casinos will be able to have up to two individually branded websites per location, with the commission authorized to go to three if they so choose. That will allow gamblers to shop around and download different apps and compare sportsbook odds.

As it currently stands, he said, he has heard of gamblers driving from Des Moines to the casino in Jefferson or other locations to be able to access internet sites that offer fantasy sports or other options not available to them locally.

State Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, who played a key role in getting the sports wagering legislation passed and signed into law by Reynolds, said the first year went as well as could be expected, given the COVID-19 disruptions, and was pleased no major compliance issues or other concerns emerged with the state’s latest gambling expansion.

“I think probably the biggest surprise was a little bit more online usage than most thought would happen,” he said.

Despite criticism, Smith said he believed “it was the right thing to do” to require the in-person registration for the first 18 months as a security precaution for a new gambling option.

“I think it’s an unfortunate time as far as we don’t have an accurate reading on what the demand will be because you don’t have the normal level of sports out there. But you also don’t have to have people that have to go inside a casino if they don’t want to. They have the online option to place their wagers and I think there’s some safety measures in that, too,” he said. “I think there’s good and bad for the year 2020 in dealing with online sports wagering.”

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