Iowa: Prairie Meadows finalizes sports betting plans as legislators share optimism for 2019 legalization

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino on Wednesday announced it has entered into a partnership with William Hill U.S. to operate the casino's sports book should gambling on sporting events officially become legal in Iowa.

The casino is constructing an 8,600-square-foot sports book on the fourth floor, near the horse racing center, as part of a larger remodeling project. The area will include a bar and state-of-the-art video wall where people can view sporting events and live betting odds.

Prairie Meadows is the first of Iowa's 19 commercial casinos to formally announce a sports betting partnership and sports book plans since the U.S. Supreme Court in May struck down a federal ban on sports wagering in most states.

"We think it's an exciting proposition," Prairie Meadows President and CEO Gary Palmer said. "There's unbelievable interest."

Sports betting, which was only legal in Nevada before last spring's Supreme Court decision, has now been legalized in eight states. Some legislators have spoken favorably about the prospect of legalizing it in Iowa, though some have cautioned that any system would need to be properly regulated.