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Is Sports Betting Coming to Iowa?

ALTOONA, Iowa  -- One Drake Law professor says the U.S. Supreme Court may reach a decision on legalizing sports Monday morning.

The current law says betting on sporting events is only legal in the state of Nevada.

Drake University Law Professor Keith Miller said, "This law tells states that they have to enforce the federal law against sports betting and the state of New Jersey says that violates our concepts of federalism, that congress has overstepped its authority in this particular case."

If the current law is overturned, the casino is where you would go to place a bet on a sporting event. The Iowa legislature is considering legislation now and would be ready to create laws and regulations if the Supreme Court ruled that states would be free to offer sports betting.

Though it would not look like a typical fantasy football league, which up to a certain amount of money is considered legal.

This would allow a person to bet on multiple games, every day of the year and they could even make bets on an app after setting up an account with the casino.

“The person if they had the app, they could be in a bar, they could be getting ready to go to sleep, they could be fixing dinner but they would place a bet on that app, the money would be deducted from their account at the time. If they won, the money would be put back in,” Miller said.

Miller said setting up a sports betting system is not as simple as a horse racing system, there are many things to take into account, licensing, regulation, the types of bets, taxes.

"It’s very important that a state that wants to have sports betting be realistic about the money, the revenue that they can get from sports betting because sports betting really is a low margin activity and if you over tax it you’re really kind of shooting yourself in the foot," Miller said.

Miller said if the current law is overturned, this type of betting would put a spin on football tailgating in the fall, "The football game between Iowa and Iowa State which has historically been in early September, someone in Des Moines could go to Prairie Meadows, be able to watch that game on television as well as a number of other games and be able to make a legal bet on that game, on Iowa or Iowa State.”

There is an event co-sponsored by Drake Law School and Prairie Meadows Casino discussing the legalization of sports betting in Iowa and what that would look like.

The event is March 5th from 11:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. at Prairie Meadows Events and Conference Center in Altoona. Register here for the event.