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Iowa casino looks forward to sport gambling becoming legal

CLINTON, Iowa-- An Iowa casino says it's getting ready for sports gambling to be legalized. But people working with people with gambling addiction say they have some concerns before that happens.

The general manager of Wild Rose Casino and Resort Steve Nauman says the casino's off-track betting room will easily convert for sports betting. There are dozens of TVs for guests to watch and place bets on horse and dog racing happening across the country.

"This is two-years-old and it's already exceeded our expectations," Nauman says. "So we're excited for sports wagering."

Under a proposed law in Iowa, people would register for a betting account in-person at a casino. Casino workers would verify that someone is 21-years-old, old enough to gamble. Then they'd be able to place wagers on sports, both collegiate and professional, from anywhere in the state online or on their phone.

For Nauman, he hopes people will make their bets in-person at the casino.

"It'll give us something new, something different," he says.

The Clinton County Development Association (CCDA) says casinos have struggled after Illinois expanded video gaming a few years ago. CCDA hopes sports wagering will bring more people back into the casinos.

The Iowa bill doesn't currently specify where tax revenue would go. And that's a concern for one outpatient counselor with the Area Substance Abuse Council.

Megan Vance says gambling addiction is already a problem in the area with casinos close by in Clinton, Dubuque and Scott County. She wants to see some plans outlined to aid treatment since many people already enjoy watching sports.

"So if we open that up to sports betting, we're giving people another opportunity to something they can become addicted to," she says.

Nauman says that's one reason it's best to have casinos run sports betting. He says they're already regulated by the state and have steps in place to help people who may be addicted.

The Iowa bill made it out of a house committee on Friday, March 8. The Illinois bill to legalize sports gambling is still making its way through committees.

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