Lawmakers Divided Over Sports Betting In North Iowa

Lawmakers Divided Over Sports Betting In North Iowa

Last week when the Senate approved the sports betting bill in Iowa, there was clear support in favor of the new legislation.

The Senate voted 31-18 in favor of the bill legalizing sports betting in the state. The bill also allowed for betting on professional college level games and tournaments. Of those who voted in favor were nineteen Republican and twelve Democrat Senators while twelve Republicans and six Democrats opposed the bill.

The things weren’t the same for North Iowa area. Two state senators Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) and Sen. Waylon Brown (R-St. Ansgar) voted in favor; however, Sen. Dennis Guth (R-Klemme) did not participate in the voting process and has said that he is not in favor of the sports betting legalization bill.

In a statement to the press, he said: “I am a definite no on any more gambling. The costs to society are far too high. It is most tempting to those who can least afford an expensive habit.”

Acknowledging the negative impacts of sports betting Senator Ragan who voted in favor as she believes that legalizing sports betting will put an end to illegal gambling activities and also help the state gain tax revenues.

She explained her stand and said: “Some of these gaming avenues have been in the black market – we don’t know how many Iowans may want or need treatment help and providing new resources while providing oversight to these industries was important to me.”

She also pointed out that the bill has a provision for $300,000 to be spent on helping those who suffer from gambling addiction.
According to the current status of the gambling treatment services in the state, only 2.6 million a year is received in funds for the purpose.

On the other hand, Senator Guth in the face of arguments from other lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill remained firm on her stand and said that: “It certainly won’t eliminate illegal betting. It may get more people hooked that will take to illegal betting because they are locked out of the state system because of abuse.”

The bill is yet to be presented in the full house. After it gets approved, it will have to be officially endorsed and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds before sports betting is legalized in the state.

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