A bill filed in the Iowa General Assembly this Monday wants to see the legalization of online casino gambling in the state and expand the reach of gaming. Presently, the land-based casino industry supports 17,420 jobs and has an estimated economic impact of $2.8 billion across the 23 commercial and tribal properties in the state.
Iowa Makes Another Go at Legalizing Online Casinos
Iowa already has experience with mobile sports betting, which is available statewide, but the state may now be looking to pass further legislation, courtesy of HSB 227 filed by Rep. Bobby Kauffman. The bill seems to focus on commercial operations and suggests that each may have up to two online casino skins. In other words, there could be as many as 38 online casinos should the bill clear.
However, the bill is keen to possibly see the online industry grow a bit further, with a third skin option left with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to decide. The IRGC would also be in charge of setting up the regulatory framework for iGaming operations.
Looking at these numbers, Iowa could easily become the biggest state in terms of online casino properties, which may lead to a rapid oversaturation given that the state’s population is only 3.37 million people. Kauffman though is confident that his proposed legislation is going to hit a bull’s eye if anything.
Awareness of the Matter Already Exists in Iowa
He previously worked on a similar proposal – HSB 604 – which was dragged through last year’s session but never actually got to a floor vote. However, Kauffman seems fairly confident that the bill served its purpose and helped raise awareness for the matter. His new pitch is similar to the 2022 bill as well.
There is a proposed initial license of $45,000 which coincides with the fee currently charged from sports betting operators that offer products online along with a $10,000 renewal fee. The tax rate is set at 6.75%, which is once again the same amount for sports betting revenue. So far as taxing iGaming operations goes, though, most states have chosen to levy the activity at a steeper rate.