On Thursday, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission met to move the ball farther down the field on sports betting, with the goal of reaching the end zone by the start of the NFL season.
Last week, the IRGC released draft regulations for traditional sports wagering and fantasy sports. On Thursday morning at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, regulators were scheduled to meet in a public setting to gather feedback from the public on the new administrative rules.
The regs cover a wide range of technical matters for the state’s upcoming sports betting industry. For sports bettors, the regs lay out rules for identity and age verification, deposits and withdrawals, and filing a complaint against a sportsbook, among other standard features of a regulated sports betting market.
To highlight one consumer protection measure in the regs: No sportsbook in Iowa can charge you a fee for not being active enough with your account. Under the rules, an online/mobile sports betting account is deemed “dormant” if there’s been no activity for 36 months.
And, of course, the rules lay out minimum requirements that a licensed sportsbook must adhere to for problem gaming, a crucial component for the sustainability of the industry. Gamblers must be allowed to impose limits on their betting, and a sportsbook cannot allow any changes to the “severity of the self-imposed limitations” for at least 24 hours. A player can also self-exclude entirely from sports betting.
The IRGC could adopt the regulations at a hearing next month.
Slowly but surely regulators are signing off on sports betting plans. Prior to the public hearing on the draft regs, the IGRC also met on Thursday morning for its regularly scheduled hearing.
A handful of casinos in the state were up for regulatory approval for sports betting-related remodeling. The likes of Diamond Jo Worth Casino, Horseshoe Casino, and Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs were all up for their respective approvals, according to the IRGC meeting agenda.
Additionally, regulators had several contract approvals pertaining to an advanced deposit sports wagering operator agreement in front of them Thursday morning. The likes of PointsBet and Catfish Bend Casino, Grand Falls Casino Resort and Betfred Sports, as well as Isle Casino Bettendorf and William Hill, among others, were up for a regulatory stamp of approval.
The IRGC met last month and approved similar regulatory matters related to sports wagering.
The state has 19 casinos eligible for sportsbooks. The brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will have a built-in advantage over the upcoming online/mobile sports betting platforms in Iowa. Under Iowa law, online gamblers must sign up in person at a casino until Jan. 1, 2021.
Geocomply, a world-class provider of geolocation services, was slated to give a presentation before the IRGC, according to the agenda. Geocomply has testified to policymakers and regulators in other states to explain how the technology works, which is ultimately part of what makes state legalization of online gambling possible. Geocomply wasn’t up for any regulatory approvals, per the agenda.