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Iowa Gaming Association considering push to legalise online gambling

The Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) is preparing for a possible push to get legislative approval for online gambling in the Midwestern State, according to the organisation’s president, Wes Ehrecke.

Although the issue cannot be brought before the house or senate ahead of next year’s session, the trade body is looking to gain traction on a proposed bill that would see online gambling become legal in Iowa.

If successful, it would fundamentally alter the state’s gaming industry, with many welcoming the change, while some — like traditional, brick-and-mortar casinos — are worried about a potential drop-off in footfall should iGaming go live and eat into their customer base.

The state’s sports betting industry launched two years ago, recording a record $200m revenue from wagers in September 2021, and many IGA members believe that online gambling can only augment these profits.

Advocates for legalisation have been clamouring for change since the US Department of Justice reinterpreted the 1961 Wire Act in 2011, guaranteeing states’ right to regulate online gambling, claiming it could create jobs and boost tax revenue.

Alternatively, some argue that besides the economic impact iGaming could have on land-based businesses, it may also trigger a new wave of gambling-related social problems.

At the moment, we can only speculate as Ehrecke believes it’s too early to comment on whether the idea will be floated in the state's government, and even if the proponents of legalisation get their way, online gambling in Iowa would still be some ways off.

Currently, online gambling is permitted under law in six states: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


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