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Iowa now the 11th state in the USA to legalise sports gambling

Iowa is now the 11th state in the USA, and the first in the midwest, to allow bets on sporting events. On Thursday 15 August, six casinos in Iowa began allowing these sporting wagers.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a measure in May that allowed sports betting, beginning at noon Thursday. It requires players to first travel to a casino to prove their age and identity and set up an account.

People at gaming machines at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Credit: Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

Casinos in Altoona, Bettendorf, Osceola and Waterloo offered betting on-site and through a mobile app, while casinos in Burlington and Council Bluffs offered on-site betting only until their mobile systems are set up. Two more casinos are close to final approval are were expected to be authorized to take bets soon, said Brian Ohorilko, the Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator. Eventually most of the state’s 19 state-regulated casinos are expected to offer sports betting.

That means sports betting enthusiasts are likely to travel to Iowa casinos from adjacent states to sign up and boost business for border casinos including Ameristar in Council Bluffs, where General Manager Paul Czak expects players from Nebraska and Missouri.

Iowa’s law requires mobile betting to be done within the borders of the state. Betting software includes precision geofencing technology that nullifies bets made outside of Iowa.

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