Casino prepares for sports betting

CLINTON — Clinton Wild Rose Casino and Resorts General Manager Steve Nauman believes sports betting in Iowa will be in place before the start of football season.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 13 signed Senate File 617, which is an act relating to gambling regulation and wagering by providing for sports wagering and fantasy sports contests, providing taxes and fees, making penalties applicable and including implementation and effective date provisions.

"I believe that you will be able to place your first bets two weeks before football season starts," Nauman said. "Approximately. I'm really hoping we get that because I don't want it to be the first day. I want a soft opening for that. I wish it was a month before but since she let it sit on her desk while she was deciding for two weeks that puts us back two weeks."

Nauman believes the Wild Rose Casino will start signing up customers sometime in July, estimating a date around July 20. He said they are looking at two companies to partner with. He confirmed the companies will set odds and will "be the expertise behind it." Nauman said individuals wanting to place a bet online are required to first come to the casino and set up an account.

"You can come in and place a bet without an account," Nauman said. "If you wanted to use your mobile device you have to have an account."

Nauman said New Jersey has 80 percent online bets and 20 percent in the facility. Nauman, citing the Wild Rose Casino's proximity to Illinois, believes there will be a greater percentage of participants who come to the Wild Rose facility.

"With us being where we're at on the border of Illinois and them not being able to bet because of the geofence, I bet ours is flip-flopped," Nauman said. "I'm not saying we'll be 20-80 but I bet it's a lot closer to 50-50. And that's with me not knowing anything about it. That's just my guess. Educated guess."

The bill does not allow in-game proposition bets on players in collegiate sporting events involving at least one Iowa school. The bill states sports wagering does not include placing a wager on performance of or non-performance of an athlete participating in a single game or match of a collegiate sporting event that a collegiate team from Iowa is a participant.

"You can bet college," Nauman said. "You can't bet on whether the Iowa or Iowa State quarterback throws for 10 touchdowns or five. That's not allowable. But you can bet on whether Iowa wins the game."