Iowa likely to introduce sports betting bill

Business News

Wagering on “fantasy” sports teams would become legal in Iowa under legislation that’s cleared one statehouse hurdle, but it would only be legal if the organization hosting the fantasy gaming is licensed by the state to do so.

John Cacciatore has been hired by DraftKings and FanDuel to lobby legislators and he testified before a House subcommittee yesterday.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Iowans today who play season-long fantasy sports with their friends and neighbors and co-workers, etc.,” he said. “Those same Iowans would like to also play daily fantasy sports which is basically in an online platform but that’s not allowed because, technically, fantasy sports is illegal in Iowa.”

The bill that cleared a five-member House subcommittee Thursday would allow the state’s casinos to take wagers on fantasy sports teams. Businesses like FanDuel and DraftKings would have to apply for a state license, pay state taxes and be subject to oversight from state gambling regulators.

Reverend Brian Carter is lobbying against the bill on behalf of the United Methodist Church. He told the subcommittee gambling “fosters greed” and puts faith in chance.

“We would rather support Iowa values of education, hard work and perserverance,” Carter said. “Gambling is a menace to personal charactger and social morality.”

A lobbyist for the 19 state-licensed casinos told lawmakers DraftKings and FanDuel ultimately aim to “morph” into online sports betting sites. He pointed to what happened last weekend as one site allowed “fantasy” teams to be assembled from NFL playoff game rosters — and he said the other site plans to offer fantasy sports betting on the Super Bowl.