Iowa casinos begin offering legal sports betting

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Casinos across the state of Iowa opened legal sports betting at noon on Thursday, August 15. It comes about three months after Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill clearing the way for venues like Bettendorf's Isle of Capri to start offering fans a legal way to make wagers on professional and college sports.

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher said the move would bring positive economic impacts to the Quad Cities.

"I can envision lots of people coming on Saturdays and Sundays to place a bet and have some great food here at the Isle," said Gallagher.

Under the new law, anyone over the age of 21 can place a sports bet at licensed Iowa casinos. Fans can also place bets online after registering their ID at a licensed casino when they set up their account.

London-based bookmaker William Hill opened four-sport books like the one in Bettendorf across the state on Thursday, the others in Waterloo, Lakeside and Prairie Meadows.

"So you'll be able to bet on the Cyclones and the Hawkeyes, college football, college basketball," said Michael Grodsky, the Vice President of Marketing at William Hill.

Instrumental to getting the sports betting bill passed was State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, (R) Wilton, who says that legal sports betting means that number one, people that want to wager on sports no longer have to do it in the shadows.

"Number two, it means that bookies, your business in sports wagering is over," Kaufmann said. "People can now do this legally, they can do it right here in the casinos," he said.

With NFL Kickoff weekend and college football around the corner, the Isle hopes to attract sports betters from surrounding states who will put down some cash in this community. And cash is the only way to place a bet -- state regulations require it in an effort to head off potential problem gamblers.

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