Sports Gambling Bill Advances Despite Questions About Where Profits Will Go

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A bill that would allow sports gambling at licensed gaming facilities in Iowa is advancing at the Capitol despite concerns from some lawmakers.

The Senate State Government Committee approved SSB 1168 by an 8-6 vote.  The Senate bill would allow sports gambling at already licensed gaming facilities.  The Iowa Lottery supports a plan that would also allow bets to be placed at any lottery retailer; however that language is not included in the Senate bill.

Committee chair Roby Smith, a Davenport Republican, says the bill is not finished and can still be amended in further committees or in debate on the Senate floor.

Des Moines Democrat Tony Bisignano is the only member of the committee to speak publicly against the bill at Thursday's hearing.  He says the bill does not contain language specifying how profits from sports betting will be spent.  State law sets aside a certain portion of other gaming profits in Iowa for non-profits .  Bisignano says he wants that guarantee before supporting the bill.

"I don't think you can justify passing a gaming bill when you have no idea what the revenue is going to be," Bisignano said.  He says he supports sports gambling but without details.

This bill now moves on to the Senate Ways and Means Committee where fees and taxes will be decided.  The Iowa House is also considering a seperate plan that would also legalize sports gambling.

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