Online casino expansion not quite dead as Iowa bill emerges

Iowa Capitol building
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When an online casino bill in Indiana died in committee last month, many thought that hopes for igaming expansion in the US this year were similarly deceased. However, in Iowa, a bill has emerged that would bring online casino to the Hawkeye State. 

House Study Bill 227 (HSB227) would allow casinos in Iowa to launch up to two igaming skins each, meaning there could be a whole host of online operators descending upon the state should the bill pass. 

Subject to the approval of the Iowa Gaming Commission, there would be scope for casinos to partner with a third online brand. 

HSB227 imposes a licensing fee of $45,000 for prospective licensees, with an annual renewal fee of $10,000. 

The language of the bill is that “advanced deposit gambling games” would be permitted, defined as “a method of wagering on gambling games in which an eligible individual may, in an account established with a licensee deposit moneys into the account and use the account balance to pay for wagering on gambling games… via telephone-type device, a computer, through the internet, or by any other electronic means.”

The bill also imposes that licensees must make available to players problem gambling information and extensive responsible gambling features throughout any online offering. 

Whilst this bill brings new hopes of online casino expansion in the US this year, it does not make any guarantees, and there are already discussions about whether there is any legal basis for gambling expansion in the Hawkeye State. 

John Pappas, SVP of Government and Public Affairs at GeoComply, spoke to Steve Ruddock of on Twitter, explaining that the moratorium on land-based casino expansion would be transferred to all types of gambling, including online casino, if such measure was brought forward. 

As such, it would seem unlikely that lawmakers would have had a significant change of heart in just one legislative session. But, with little other hope of online casino expansion this year, eyes will be on Des Moines in the coming weeks.