eSports Wagering Included In New Iowa Gambling Bill

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on March 9, 2022
Esports Will Be Added In New Bill For Iowa Gambling

A new bill in the Hawkeye State aims to expand gambling by adding eSports into the mix.

The new bill has already passed through the Iowa House of Representatives and resides in the Senate’s State Government Committee.

Bill contains more than just eSports

Introduced by Representative Bobby Kaufmann-R, House File 2497 includes several changes wanted by casinos in Iowa.

A few changes are:

  • Allow betting on eSports
  • Betting on the Heisman Trophy and NFL Draft
  • Ability to use eWallets on the casino floor

Paving a way through the Senate

The bill passed through the Iowa House by a vote of 71-28.

Roby Smith, chairman of the State Government Committee, was behind the sports betting bill passed by Iowa in 2019. Thus, there is speculation House File 2497 will be met with open arms. 

Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association, said he expects the bill to be met with bipartisan support. 

“We will continue our unified industry effort and discussions on the bill’s provisions with each of the Senators. I am optimistic there will be the necessary bipartisan support to continue to advance the bill, first through subcommittee, then full committee and finally floor debate.”

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Potential push back

Although lawmakers support the gambling industry, some say wagering on eSports and introducing cashless gaming could lead to more problems.

Representative Chris Hall-D said cashless wagering might take things too far. 

 “I am now kind of struck by turning on SportsCenter on the weekend or turning on ESPN and being surprised at the fact that more and more time is devoted to a ticker at the bottom of the screen that is placing odds on the games, or a segment of SportsCenter that is solely devoted to what the betting lines are. It’s actually becoming a little bit more about gambling coverage than it is about the athletics and the sports themselves.”

Representative Sandy Salmon-R also echoed similar thoughts about expanding gambling in Iowa. 

“This makes the availability and access to gambling so much easier, thus increasing its danger and addictive power. People tend to think that when something is legal that it is o.k. and safe and even helpful and even that it can’t hurt you — and that’s a lie.”

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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