Iowa Moves Closer to Legalizing Fantasy Sports

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Iowa Moves Closer to Legalizing Fantasy Sports

Iowa, a state that has dabbled with the notion of legalizing online gambling including poker, has moved to legalize Fantasy sports.

While Fantasy Sports are exempt under federal legislation banning most other forms of online gambling, some individuals states have enacted their own laws that make engaging in such contests with cash prizes illegal, Iowa being one of them.

Senate Study Bill 1068 and House Study Bill 47 would essentially deem Fantasy Sports games of skill.

Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, is one of the individuals behind the recent push to legalize Fantasy Sports in the state.

“We haven’t had an ‘a-ha’ moment yet where large dollar sums have been in question given our prohibition,” said Danielson, who noted he would like to provide a “light regulatory touch” in giving fantasy sports legal status in Iowa.

“It’s time for us to clarify (the law), and I personally believe that fantasy sports have economic value. There are a lot of workplaces that come closer together participating in fantasy leagues.”

Peter Schoenke, a Roto Sports Inc. official from Madison, Wis., who represents the 120-member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, told the Gazette he estimates that at least 350,000 Iowans play fantasy sports but most are not clear on the law.

“You could win the contest, but then you don’t get to win the prize,” he said. “There have been cases in Iowa and the other five states where someone has won a free contest and thought they were going to win a T-shirt and ESPN said they couldn’t mail it to them, so stuff like that happens.”

Washington State is also looking to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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