The New Online Gambling Bill Is Proposed But The Government Of Iowa Ignores It Once Again

Recently, an Iowa iGaming measure, a new one, was introduced in the Des Moines capital for a second year in a row. But, sadly, just like last year, the legislative session was not fruitful for those who are hoping to see this hobby becoming legal in the future. The respected state lawmakers aren’t seeking to allow online slot machines and table games in recent future.

The so-called House Study Bill 227 was introduced earlier this month by state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton). The legislative vehicle is a clone of House Study Bill 604, which he filed during the state’s 2022 legislative session.

For those who are unaware of the technical aspects of this bill, the HSB227 is basically a successor of the Kaufmann’s effort to initiate a meaningful discussion about whether the state should expand gambling to include iGaming in the form of interactive slot machines and table games via legal in Iowa online casinos.

All of this struggle may be confusing to people who are aware of the fact that Iowa now has 19 riverboat and land-based casinos. Slots, tables, and sportsbooks are allowed to operate at the properties. Iowa also allows online sports betting. But, online casinos is where the government draws the line in the sand.

What Is The Purpose Of The Bill Proposition If The Government Is Not Willing To Consider

HSB227 has been directed to the House Ways and Means Committee, which Kaufmann is a member of. Kaufmann said he’s introducing the iGaming study bill simply to keep the conversation fresh and intriguing to the other members. He says progress on an iGaming bill won’t occur until there’s a consensus among the state’s current gaming operators.

Here is what the bill proposes.

Kaufmann’s iGaming bill simply suggests an allowance for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to authorize licensed casinos to operate interactive slots and table games online. Those would basically be just like those land-based establishments. Only the state’s current casinos would qualify to operate online gaming.

To show good faith, the proposition states that each casino must pay an upfront $45K iGaming fee and renew the license annually at $10K. Under Kaufmann’s pitch, the casino would be allowed to operate up to two “skins,” or online gaming platforms. Kaufmann’s bill doesn’t suggest an effective tax rate for gross gaming revenue generated by online casinos. They want to show the government that there will be no shady business and tax evasion.

What Can We Expect

The online gambling enthusiasts are hopeful, but the truth is that the chances of expanding gaming in Iowa anytime soon are rather low.

Why is that?

Well, the state’s current licensed gaming interests only recently convinced state lawmakers to place a moratorium on new licenses. In June 2022, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill that prevents the state from approving new gaming projects until at least July 1, 2024. This is basically an answer to all those wondering when online casinos may be legal.

This moratorium was an attempt to stabilize the gambling market due to the issues caused by the pandemic.

“Over the last few years there’s been a lot of changes to our gaming laws in the state of Iowa, so, there’s a little, maybe a lot, of gaming fatigue within the Capitol.”

Those were the exact words of Senate Major Leader Jack Whitver.

The position of the senate members and the Iowa government is pretty obvious. Is that because of the moratorium issued due to the pandemic or are there other reasons? We will see in the next couple of years.


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