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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Iowa sees decline in gaming revenue

Local Government

By Kimberly James | Jan 27, 2020

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Wikimedia Commons, Lothar Hakelberg

Iowa's gaming revenue was down by $1.6 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, totaling $324.2 million, according to the Business Record.

The state did not collect any licensing fees from new casinos, but most of the loss was due to a drop in revenue from wagering fees.

The state collects wagering taxes and licensing and regulatory fees from its 19 casinos. Wagering taxes, from table games and slot machines, make up most of the revenue collected.

According to the Business Record, sports license wagering fees, a new addition to Iowa's source of gaming revenue, netted $700,000. A 2018 decision by the Supreme Court allowed betting at casinos and racetracks in states other than Nevada. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law to legalize wagers on college and professional sports in state-regulated casinos and online in 2019.

Casinos had to obtain a special license before they could offer sports betting. This application included a fee. Fifteen of the casinos were ready to accept bets on August 15, the first day it was legal in Iowa. By mid-November, all 19 casinos were licensed.

All new casinos are required to pay a one-time licensing fee and it can be paid over five years. The state did not collect any initial licensing fees from casinos in the 2018-19 fiscal year. The Wild Rose Casino and Resort, which opened in 2015, made its final fee payment in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

There are specific guidelines as to how gaming revenues can be used per Iowa code. The Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund will receive just over $150 million, and the Iowa Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund will receive just over $63 million.

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