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Iowa Joins List of States Demanding Legalized Sports Gambling

Iowa lawmakers advanced a bill proposing legal sports betting at state casinos, becoming the latest state to attack the federal sports gambling ban.

The number of states wanting the federal ban on sports betting to be repealed keeps growing, and Iowa just made it clear it wants a piece of the action. A state Senate subcommittee unanimously approved legal sports gambling in the state, a measure intended to draw Congressional attention.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 allows only four states any part of wagering on sports, and a US Circuit Court of Appeals decision last fall holds three of those to exceedingly limited gaming on sports. But one of those limited states, Delaware, is advancing its claim to broader gambling rights to the US Supreme Court, and one of the many barred states, New Jersey, is suing on the claim the act is discriminatory.

Since then, Missouri and Rhode Island have passed resolutions asking Congress to withdraw the sports betting ban. Lawmakers around the country point out that the gambling is going on, undeterred by the law, but taxes are not collected on the illegal activity.

The Iowa bill would permit sports betting at any of the state's 17 licensed casinos. Like many states, Iowa is eager to create revenues by opening up sports gambling.

"We've heard about sports betting since I was a pup," said Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie. "It's already legal in many foreign countries. I'm just saying why not Iowa?"

National political observers are wondering whether the public will across the country in favor of legalizing sports betting can overcome the lobbying and campaign millions spent by the NFL to block sports wagering. While media have pounded the league for its hypocrisy, NFL officials remain adamant that no legal gambling should be allowed on sports.

Published on February 3, 2010 by PrestonLewis

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