As it turns out, the state of Iowa has been preparing a House bill that is aimed at legalizing sports betting in case the U.S. Supreme Court lifts the nationwide ban on sportsbetting, but the Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball League are not too happy about it. Both leagues have officially registered an opposing bill against the Iowa House bill.
However, it is more complicated than it seems – the leagues are not actually opposed to the state’s bid to legalize sports betting, per se. Apparently, the real problem is a provision of the bill that points to a proposed “integrity fee.” The integrity does not guarantee the leagues a piece of the profits that will be amassed from sports betting once it is legalized. According to the Iowa Gaming Association, while the leagues are not being forward about it, NBA and MLB are essentially demanding for major league sports fees.
Members of the Iowa casino industry have unanimously pointed out that the fees that the leagues are demanding is not only unrealistic but will also make sportsbooks unprofitable in the long run.
“It would kill sports betting in any state,” said Iowa Gaming Association president, Wes Ehrecke in an interview with a news outlet.
“It is unfortunate there wouldn’t be a good partnership with all the leagues because they will benefit from people watching games and betting on games,” Ehrecke told the news outlet. “But there certainly doesn’t need to be an integrity fee.”
Ehrecke further pointed out that in case the leagues are allowed to have the 1 percent fee that they are asking for, they would be walking away with about 20 percent or more of what is left after pot money is paid out. In addition to this, he also based his reasoning on the fact that 95 percent of the money wagered would be returned to the gamblers, and the remaining 5 percent is divided among the state, overhead expenses, federal taxes and a small share of the profits for the casinos and community groups.
Iowa’s sports gambling legislation is scheduled for consideration today (Wednesday, 7th )and if passed will establish a framework to legalize sports betting on college and professional sports which would then be regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.