Iowa lawmakers final week included a two-year moratorium on new on line casino licenses being issued. The rule was included in a gaming omnibus legislative package deal that primarily has to cope with regulatory issues.
The moratorium got here as a shock to many, together with the Cedar Rapids Improvement Group which desires to construct a $250 million on line casino resort on the west facet of the Cedar River. Virtually every week after the Iowa Legislature handed Home File 2497 and despatched the two-year license suspension to Governor Kim Reynolds’ (R) desk for closing approval, state politicians are opening up in regards to the resolution to freeze new gaming privileges.
Throughout an interview this week with Iowa PBS, Senate Majority Chief Jack Whitver (R-Polk) cited “gaming fatigue” for the moratorium.
Folks simply mentioned, ‘We wish a pause and see how this shakes out over the subsequent couple of years,’” Whitver defined. “Over the previous couple of years there’s been loads of modifications to our gaming legal guidelines within the state of Iowa, after which there have been modifications that can have an effect on Iowa, like Nebraska bringing casinos on board.
“And so there’s somewhat, quite a bit, of gaming fatigue throughout the Capitol,” he added.
Sports activities Betting Blamed
The gaming omnibus the Iowa Legislature despatched to Reynolds offers with cashless wagering, withholding of sure winnings, occupational licensing, simulcasting taxation, and up to date penalties for regulatory shortcomings. Part 17 of the statute prohibits the Iowa Racing and Gaming Fee from issuing a twentieth on line casino license for the subsequent two years.
There are at the moment 19 licensed riverboat and land-based casinos in Iowa. Home File 2497, assuming Reynolds indicators the invoice with out modification, will preserve the trade that means till June 2024.
Together with casinos coming to Nebraska and new regulatory legal guidelines being carried out, Whitver says Iowa’s 2019 authorization of retail and on-line sports activities betting additional added to the pondering that the state ought to decelerate its rising gaming trade. The Senate majority chief says Iowans are already being bombarded by incessant sports activities betting commercials.
“After the sports activities gaming invoice handed, there’s so many adverts, a lot discuss gaming,” Whitver defined. “Folks mentioned, ‘We simply must put a pause on this.’”
Together with halting new casinos, Iowa lawmakers tabled a request from sportsbooks to supply odds on esports.
Ought to Reynolds signal the invoice with the two-year moratorium on new on line casino licenses, the legislation would enable for sure exceptions amid the 24-month interruption. The statute supplies three exceptions that might enable the state Racing and Gaming Fee to behave on licensing requests.
The fee could be licensed to approve a on line casino’s request to relocate to a brand new web site, as long as the placement stays throughout the identical county. The fee would even be permitted to approve new gaming rights for an organization buying an lively license from one other agency, as long as the on line casino being bought stays stagnant.
Lastly, if a licensed on line casino operator surrenders its concession, the Racing and Gaming Fee could be allowed to provoke a aggressive bidding course of for a brand new firm to take possession of the shuttered property.