Iowa daily fantasy sports bill sails through House subcommittee

Iowa daily fantasy sports bill sails through House subcommittee

A bill seeking to regulate daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Iowa has cleared the first hurdle set by a five-member House subcommittee.

Radio Iowa reported that the bill passed the scrutiny of the Iowa House subcommittee on Wednesday, amid an intense lobbying from the conservative United Methodist Church.

The latest bill was similar to the other DFS measures that were filed and died in the state legislature.

In a nutshell, the new bill will allow Iowa’s casinos to take wagers on fantasy sports teams, but DFS operators like FanDuel and DraftKings will have to secure a state license to operate, pay the taxes, and allow state regulators to do their oversight job.

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FANTASY SPORTS BETTING: An Iowa House subcommittee sent a plan to license, regulate and tax fantasy sports betting to the full Ways and Means Committee despite arguments that any expansion of gambling is a “detriment to society.”

That put church-affiliated groups and some gaming interests on the same page in opposing House File 613. It would have the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals license and regulate fantasy sports betting.

Fantasy sports betting operators would be charged a 7.5 percent tax, which the Legislative Services Agency estimated would generate between $160,000 and $535,000 in state revenue, depending on the level of participation by Iowans.

Gambling “attracts the young and naive” and is a form of regressive taxation, according to Bruce Carter, a lobbyist for the United Methodist Conference.

The Iowa Gaming Association opposed the bill on the grounds that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission should oversee fantasy sports betting just as it licenses and regulates casinos.

Lobbyists for DraftKings and FanDuel said many Iowans already participate in fantasy sports betting and the law to legalize it would allow the state to regulate and tax the activity.