Iowa commission approves final set of sports betting rules

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials approved on Tuesday a final set of rules for the state's new law allowing sports betting, which is set to go live at noon on Aug. 15.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the new rules during a meeting in West Des Moines, the Des Moines Register reported . Iowa's new bill was signed into law in May establishing a legal way to bet on professional, collegiate and international sporting events. It also legalizes fantasy sports contests and internet fantasy sports betting, but delays betting based on college sporting event statistics until next May.

The new law excludes betting on some events, like in-state college team players. While it allows betting on-site or through a mobile app, players must first travel to a casino to prove their age and identity and set up an account with that casino. Mobile apps also will only be operable within state borders. So, for example, residents in Omaha, Nebraska, would have to cross state lines each time they wished to place a bet on their phones.

Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are or will soon be in place at 18 of Iowa's 19 licensed casinos, with only the Casino Queen in Marquette currently not planning yet to offer the new betting, commission administrator Brian Ohorilko said. Of the 18, at least 15 are expected to have mobile apps to support their sports betting operations, he said.

Not every casino will be taking bets immediately on Aug. 15. The two primary target times are Aug. 24, for the start of college football season, and the Sept. 5 kickoff for the National Football League slate.

But Prairie Meadows in Altoona, which is already the state's hub for horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, won't be waiting. The casino is prepared to turn the lights on at its 8,600-square foot, fourth-floor sportsbook on Aug 15.

"Whatever the start date was is always what our date was projected to be," said Brad Rhines, Prairie Meadows' senior vice president and chief strategic officer. "Day 1, Hour 1 has been our aim."

Iowa will become the 11th state in the United States to offer legal sports wagering to adults 21 and older, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year allowed it nationwide.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com