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Betting on Sports Could Soon be Legal in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Nevada is the only state in America where betting on sports is legal, but that may soon change. New Jersey is questioning the constitutionality of the status quo, and the case has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Court rules in New Jersey's favor, betting on sports could soon be legal here in Iowa; if state lawmakers take advantage of the opening.

"I think it`s a great move," said Myles Goertz of West Des Moines. "I think that get people out of their rooms, and off betting on the computer and I think that, get them in here (into the Casino), get them spending money on the drinks, you know. It would help boost the local Iowa economy, not only would it help people nationally, but this would be great for Iowa."

"I think a lot of people enjoy sports, watching sports, and the opportunity to bet on it, especially in a legalized environment, and set the standards by our Racing and Gaming Commission and high levels of integrity, assure that you`re going to be paid and to have it here, I believe will be a positive," said Wes Ehrecke, President and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association.

Folks WHO caught up with outside of Prairie Meadows in Altoona agree.

"You know, I come out here (Prairie Meadows) with my grandpa every once in awhile, just to keep him busy," said Goertz. "I do enjoy gambling, craps is my game, but, you know, if sports betting was legal, you could bet that I`m gonna be out here betting on some hockey."

"Yeah, that would be good for all the football fans and stuff like that," said Roy Nelson of Des Moines.

What would legalized sports betting look like?

"I believe it would be much like what you`d see in a Vegas sports book..." said Ehrecke. "...To come into a casino to do that first and foremost, (would) probably be the way that it (would) initially be structured to get this going..."

It`s also possible that people would be able to place their bets online.

In a statement to WHO, Iowa Lottery Authority President and CEO Terry Rich, said the following:

"The Iowa Lottery has discussed the issue of sports betting, knowing that the Supreme Court would hear Christie vs. NCAA, the New Jersey case about sports betting and in particular, the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA). Now that the Dec. 4 court hearing has occurred, we all await the court’s decision, which is anticipated in the late spring-early summer timeframe.

Lotteries around the country assume many roles, and the technology certainly exists for the lottery to offer such a product. It would need to be conducted with all appropriate safeguards and consumer protections in place. We take direction for the products that we offer from the Legislature and Governor’s Office, and will look to our state’s lawmakers for decisions on any such developments here in Iowa.

As we have said many times, we believe that consistent regulation across all forms of gaming here in Iowa is paramount in any such discussions."