Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a gambling bill that adds new sports bets for customers. However, HF 2497 includes a two-year moratorium on new casino licenses.
Reynolds’s signature effectively blocks the proposed $250 million Cedar Crossings entertainment and cultural center in Cedar Rapids. The 160,000-square-foot property included between 800 and 1,100 slot machines and 40 to 60 table games.
Bringing new ways to bet in Iowa
HF 2497 allows Iowa sports betting customers to place wagers on non-sporting events like awards and draft positions.
The bill also allows bettors to place wagers on a broader range of charity golf results like participants in The Match.
Unfortunately, language in the bill permitting eSports betting did not make it into the final draft. This means sportsbooks can’t offer bets on games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or League of Legends.
Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) President and CEO Wes Ehrecke had this to say:
“There was seemingly a fair amount of opposition expressed by groups that are opposed to gaming in general. They felt that this was going to be creating more addiction for younger people. It was just important, as part of a bigger bill, to take out a contentious issue.”
A two-year ban on new casinos in Iowa
On June 2, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Vice-Chair Daryl Olsen said he was disappointed with the legislature’s decision to block new casino applications.
“I truly believe these decisions should stay at the level of commission. But our job is to regulate and not legislate. And so we will continue to regulate. I think one thing: I’m very proud of this commission. We work hard to gather the most information we possibly can. We research things we spend an awful lot of time and energy making sure we understand every topic.”
Cedar Rapids Development Group and Linn County Gaming Association planned to apply for a gaming license with the IRGC jointly.
Cedar Crossing complex was to be developed by Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E).
Other casinos developed by P2E include:
- Diamond Jo in Dubuque
- Diamond Jo Casino in Worth County
- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sioux City