The Waiting Game For Legal DFS In Iowa Is Over

Written By Derek Helling on November 5, 2019 - Last Updated on December 18, 2019
Iowa DFS Wait Is Over

About two months after the launch of Iowa legal sports betting, the question of the legality of daily fantasy sports in the Hawkeye State will be settled. The answer is in the affirmative, and the wait for regulated DFS for Iowans is over.

One of the two biggest names in the industry is now accepting entries in Iowa. The approval of DFS should also be a good sign for the future of online sports betting in Iowa.

Why the long wait for daily fantasy sports in Iowa?

Iowa residents and visitors now have access to DraftKings, one of the two monsters in the DFS industry. Why they’ve had to wait until October of 2019 to do so has been mostly a technical issue.

According to Brian Ohorilko, the administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, testing of the systems involved was the primary reason for delay. The IRGC enlisted an independent party to make sure everything ran as the law requires.

“In the simplest terms, the issue has been the technology certifications and a process called ‘change control,’ which specifies when changes to various technology should be logged, reported to the regulator, or submitted to the lab,” Ohorilko said.

With that hurdle cleared, DFS operators are good to go as far as the law is concerned. People in Iowa can legally log in to accounts, make their deposits and get to stacking their rosters.

FanDuel could be available for Iowa DFS players soon. Kevin Hennessy, FanDuel’s Director of Publicity, recently provided an update to PlayIowa.

“We’re working with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and hope to be able to launch FanDuel DFS soon,” Hennessy explained.

The recent progress on the technology for the IRGC is good news for Iowans beyond just DFS, however. It also means that more sports betting options could be on the horizon.

More online sportsbooks could launch soon as well

Currently, seven of the state’s 19 operators have live mobile components. That number should increase in the near future.

PointsBet and Q Casino should receive authorization to go live this week. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that they will actually start accepting wagers in Iowa on mobile devices this week.

The new ease with technology is a reason why others could join them soon. The same issues with the infrastructure have been a delay for mobile sportsbooks as well.

Iowa law requires residents and visitors to register for mobile sportsbooks in person. That requirement might hinder operators’ interest in the Hawkeye State.

A good counterbalance to that, however, is the low tax rate in Iowa. The 6.75% rate on handle is among the lowest in the nation.

DraftKings and FanDuel interested in more than DFS

It’s a good sign that DraftKings and FanDuel are interested in DFS in the Hawkeye State. That points toward them having a similar interest in operating Iowa sportsbooks.

FanDuel has a brick-and-mortar sportsbook in the state already, partnering with the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque. DraftKings has the same with the Wild Rose in Clinton.

While neither currently accepts online wagers in Iowa, the launch of their DFS products and other mobile books point toward that changing soon. Neither has announced any target dates, however.

What’s certain is that Iowans are now able to take part in fantasy contests. That’s a win for not only the brands but for the state as well.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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