Iowa Lawmaker Pushing to Eliminate Specific Regulatory Requirement on Sportsbooks

  • Athletes, coaches, and staff are restricted from placing sports wagers in Iowa
  • Sportsbooks must start maintaining lists of prohibited people in 2025
  • Rep. Megan Jones’ bill would remove that requirement from the law
  • Leagues already work with third-party companies on betting monitoring
University of Iowa banner on campus
Iowa sportsbooks will have to maintain lists of athletes and coaches who are not allowed to bet, starting in 2025. A new bill aims to remove this requirement. [Image:]

Bill sailed through the House

In 2025, Iowa sportsbooks will have to start maintaining lists people who are prohibited from placing sports wagers, including college and pro athletes, coaches, and staff. A member of the state House of Representatives wants that rule to never be enacted.

the list of prohibited individuals mandate was pushed to 2025

Rep. Megan Jones introduced House Joint Resolution 2004 (HJR2004) in late February, which would strike down that specific administrative rule that was included in the regulations when sports betting was legalized in the Iowa in 2019. The list of prohibited individuals mandate was pushed to 2025, but time inevitably marches on and that is now less than a year away.

HJR2004 flew through the House in about a week, passing by a 92-1 vote. It was sent to the Senate State Government Subcommittee on March 11, where it awaits action. Barring some gigantic difference in opinion between members of the House and Senate, one would expect the bill to pass fairly easily.

Why reinvent the wheel?

Rep. Jones’ reasoning for the bill is to take what she believes is a significant burden off sports betting operators’ shoulders.

I’m not sure these are waters we’re prepared to go through”

“There are 38 states that participate in sports gaming, but Iowa is the first one to request or require this list and so we’re sort of on the forefront here,” Jones told local media, “and I’m not sure these are waters we’re prepared to go through.”

Because player rosters change constantly and coaches and staff seek employment elsewhere, Jones feels that it would be extremely difficult for sportsbooks to both maintain accurate lists and monitor for people on them. The professional sports leagues and the NCAA already work with third-party companies to monitor betting activity within their sports, so the redundancy is probably unnecessary.

“What is problematic in this set of rules is that casinos are required to maintain a list of athletes, athletic trainers, coaches and other affiliated person or they can buy a subscription from a company that purports to do the same,” Jones added. “However, there’s only one entity that’s really doing this and their list, for instance, does not include the University of Iowa.”

Monitoring has caused problems in Iowa

It’s probably appropriate that such a bill is advancing in Iowa, considering the recent controversy surrounding college athletes and betting in the state. For about the past year, dozens of athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University were investigated – resulting in suspensions and athletes leaving teams – for illegal sports betting. Most the cases had to do with underage gambling, betting on their sport, and sometimes even betting on their own team.

state’s investigation into his clients was inappropriate and “warrantless”

But earlier this month, the state dropped charges against Denver Broncos and former Iowa State defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike and three other ISU athletes after defense attorney Van Plumb produced compelling evidence that the state’s investigation into his clients was inappropriate and “warrantless.”

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agent Brian Sanger had used GeoComply’s Kibana software to “geofence” ISU and UI dorms and then athletic buildings to catch athletes betting online. He had no probable cause to do so and no warrant. Additionally, Plumb released an e-mail from GeoComply in which the company stated that Kibana is not an “investigative” product, only intended to be used to make sure people were betting from legal jurisdictions.

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