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Legal Sports Betting Begins at Prairie Meadows Casino

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ALTOONA, Iowa -- Starting at noon on Thursday Iowans are able to place their first legal bets on sporting events.

The William Hill Sports Book at Prairie Meadows Casino is officially open for business.

The fourth floor was remodeled and dedicated to sports betting with dozens of tv's, a bar and a counter to place bets.

Terry Eaton was one of the first Iowans to make his wager and he hasn’t missed a single historic moment at Prairie Meadows.

“I must say that today is a lot nicer than day one in 1989 it was cold as one of the speakers mentioned it was cold and it was snowing a little bit an it was hard to see the races because the windows were fogged up. But also that was a historic day as well,” Eaton said.

William Hill CEO Joe Asher said sports betting in Iowa was in the works for years.

“Knowing the passion around sports in the area coupled with the industry and the regulatory system we’ve been pretty bullish on Iowa for a number of years and that’s why we started the licensing process with our race book a couple of years ago in Iowa it was all with the idea that one day sports betting was going to become legal and when it was we were going to be here,” Asher said.

Iowa State Senators Jack Whitver and Tony Bisignano placed the first bets as a sign of the bi-partisanship that made sports betting a reality in Iowa.

"We need our parties to work together to accomplish goals. And like Senator Bisignano and Senator Whitver both said today working together it's limitless what we can get done. And this was a great example. they worked together and got it done. If they hadn't done that this would not happen today," Prairie Meadows President and CEO Gary Palmer said.

Palmer said now that sports betting is part of their casino that means more money will go back into the community.

Eaton said it’s great to have this available now in Iowa and he just might be able to cash a ticket as soon as tomorrow.

“Well I’m excited to see if the Ravens win tonight and if I get to cash a ticket,” Eaton said.

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