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From Rep. Lee Hein:

One of the biggest issues that the Legislature is considering this session is whether the state should legalize sports betting. This conversation became a possibility last year after the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibited gambling on professional and college sports.

There are many factors to consider in this debate so it is important that we take our time and give all interested parties a chance to weigh in. This is a new topic for the Legislature to consider and the House Majority wants to hear from their constituents and communities.

To thoroughly vet this topic, the House is using a transparent process and listening to all Iowans interested in the discussion.

Last week, the House State Government Committee held a twohour subcommittee meeting on sports betting and heard arguments from Iowa’s casinos, the religious community, the Iowa Lottery, the horse racing industry, and concerned Iowa citizens, among many others.

Subcommittee members are now taking information they heard at the meeting to develop and propose legislation for the House to consider.

What have we learned so far?

Sports betting is going on regardless of whether or not it is legal. Nationwide, it is estimated that legal and illegal gambling on sports is a $150 billion industry. It is up to the Legislature to decide if and how they want to regulate this type of activity, bring it out of the shadows, and help those who may suffer from addiction get treatment.

Sports betting will not create a tax windfall for the state. In the states that have already legalized this type of gaming, actual tax receipts have fallen far behind estimates. Banking on this revenue to fund something substantial or long-term is premature.

The House Majority will continue listening to Iowans as we move forward on the issue of sports betting.