Opinion: Legalized sports gambling in Iowa is the gift that keeps on giving

We’ve had less than two months of legalized sports betting in the Hawkeye State, and we’re already seeing the benefits.


Shivansh Ahuja

Kinnick Stadium is seen fom the north end zone at Iowa Football Media Day on Friday, August 9, 2019.

Conner Hanke, Columnist

For decades on end, sports gamblers in Iowa — and most of the United States — had been on their knees praying for the golden age to arrive. At noon Aug. 15, their dream came true — sports betting became legal in Iowa.

It’s now been less than two months with legalized sports betting in our state. Regardless of if the outcome is positive or negative, one thing remains constant: one’s actions will dictate the outcome. The thing that gets lost in all this is that regardless of the decisions made, at least there is the ability to act.

The freedom to act is nice; it can also be super profitable. According to Legal Sports Report, casinos made more than $2 million in revenue — $140,000 of which has found its way into the state revenue division in the form of taxes. This is on pace with estimates from the Legislative Services Agency, which projected annual tax revenue to be between $630,000 and $1.9 million, depending on participation.

For all the fighting certain bureaucrats did to try to impede sports gambling from becoming legalized in Iowa, I’m sure a big smile came across their faces when seeing the projection for annual tax revenue from their previous adversary.

With betting on live sports becoming something of the norm, Iowans can now fix their attention on a new event coming on the horizon: The authorization of daily fantasy sports such as FanDuel and DraftKings to set up shop in the Hawkeye State.

At this point it all comes down to daily fantasy sports sites coming into full compliance with Iowa’s gaming rules and regulations. I guess the politicians figured that if they were going to make us wait our entire lives for sports betting to be legalized, they may as well make us squirm a little longer for our beloved daily fantasy sports to go into effect.

With all that being said, it’s not the time to complain — it is time to celebrate.

In what should be only a few more weeks, we will all be able to hop on our favorite site and construct lineups as if we are Michelangelo creating the Sistine Chapel. Not to mention, creating the Sistine Chapel didn’t make Michelangelo a millionaire overnight, as one DraftKings tournament could do for us. Ah, what I would do with $1 million — probably start by putting $10,000 of it right back into my DraftKings account.

Certainly, there are plenty of people out there who are a far cry from inserting their credit-card information into FanDuel or DraftKings, and reasonably so. Regardless of if you’re participating or not, we all share in common the right to decide. You don’t have to do anything good. You don’t have to do anything bad. Then again, you don’t have to really do anything at all.

But if you wanted to, you could jump on FanDuel, build a lineup or two, and maybe make a little money while you’re at it.

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