A state House bill that would allow online casino, or advance deposit gambling, does not have the votes needed to clear the Iowa legislature.
Iowa Gaming Association President and CEO Wes Ehrecke told Casinos.com the bill (House Study Bill 604) has no chance of becoming law this session.
“The IGA is neutral on this iGaming bill; it is certain HSB604 will not advance this session,” Ehrecke said in an email. “I am not certain if it will get listed on the House State Government Committee agenda after passing a subcommittee hearing last week.”
The bill set out to allow the state’s pari-mutuel facilities, as well as gambling boats and structures, to apply for an advance deposit gambling application, which required a $45,000 initial fee, plus a $10,000 yearly renewal fee.
The approved operators would have been allowed to launch up to two mobile applications while giving the state’s racing and gambling commission carte blanche to decide whether operators could access a third skin.
The bill was introduced Jan. 25, before making its way into the committee Feb. 3.
The legislation gained the approval of representatives of several casinos in the state, such as Boyd Gaming (Peninsula Gaming LLC/Dubuque Diamond Jo & Diamond Jo Worth), Wild Rose Entertainment, LLC, Great River Entertainment, Penn National Gaming/Ameristar, and Caesars Enterprise Services.
Wild Rose Entertainment announced in October it was partnering with Australian-based PlayUp to offer iGaming when it becomes legal in Iowa.
This year’s online casino effort ran into opposition from several church and community organizations, in addition to a few raceways and casinos — which voiced concern over the bill’s impact on the industry’s food, beverage, and hospitality income, among other subjects.
The bill would have paved the way for Iowa to become the seventh state to launch online casino play, after Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
New Jersey online casinos took in more than $130 million in revenue in the month of December.
In one of Iowa's neighboring states, Michigan online casinos saw a record $121.8 million in revenue during December.
Iowa’s sports betting marketplace has been a top-10 market in the country, ranking 10th in handle ($2.829B) since launching. Iowa had $266.5 million in sports betting handle in December.
It appears the Hawkeye State will have to wait a little longer to see online casino play legalized within its boundaries, however.