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Online Daily Fantasy Sports in Iowa – Overview
Daily fantasy sports have never gotten off the ground in the state, for the simple reason that they have been assumed to be covered by the statewide prohibition on online gambling in Iowa. As a result, operators have shied away from the Hawkeye State for fear of legal consequences.
In recent years, however, momentum has been building to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports, culminating with Governor Kim Reynolds signing a bill in May 2019 that permits both sports betting and daily fantasy sports, with certain restrictions.
While details are limited at this early stage, it seems very likely that daily fantasy sports will arrive in Iowa in the near future. This will come as a huge relief to Iowa daily fantasy sports fans, who have been unable to play with major operators for as long as it has been around.
There are a number of regulatory hurdles to clear, including operators being awarded licenses to offer services in Iowa. However, hopes are high that this can all be completed over the summer, in time for the start of the NFL season in September.
Here is a list of daily fantasy sports available in Iowa:
Online Daily Fantasy NFL – score touchdowns without having the run the length of the field
When daily fantasy sports finally come to Iowa, which appears to be imminent, NFL Fantasy is likely to be huge, as it is across the country. Iowa itself does not have its own NFL team and so many Iowans support the team of their northern neighbor, the Minnesota Vikings. Every NFL season is full of twists and turns, with many breakout stars and flat-out disappointments: with daily fantasy, you can quickly get over early season mis-steps and get yourself back on the path to the playoffs.
Online Daily Fantasy NHL – make sure your team is set up before the puck drops
– With its northern chilly climate, Iowa has always had a strong ice hockey following and this is likely to carry over to NHL Fantasy, when it eventually arrives in the state. There are a number of minor league teams across the Hawkeye State, including the Cedar Rapid RoughRiders and the Des Moines Buccaneers, with a committed and passionate fandom. It’s a long NHL season so daily fantasy sports fans should buckle in, but those who believe in their hockey knowledge should bet on themselves and get involved.
Online Daily Fantasy MLS – score goals to win amazing prizes
Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the USA and Iowans are getting in on the action. Global events such as the World Cup and the English Premier League have left Americans increasingly soccer-mad and so it is no surprise that MLS Fantasy has also taken off. While it may be tempting to choose some of MLS’ global superstars, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic of LA Galaxy, better value is likely to be found among the lesser-known names so don’t miss this chance to flaunt your soccer knowledge.
Online Daily Fantasy MLB – a new draft every night means strikeouts are quickly forgotten
– While there is no MLB team in Iowa, there is no shortage of choice in neighboring states for baseball fans, including the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Des Moines is also home to the Class AAA Iowa Cubs, who are affiliated with the Chicago Cubs and play in the Pacific Coast League. Baseball really puts the “daily” in “daily fantasy sports” with games on every night of the season. For true baseball fans though, there’s no better way to test your knowledge and compete against other aficionados.
College Fantasy Sport – who wants a shutout when you can watch a shootout
When it comes to college sport in Iowa, football rules the roost and the Hawkeye State has four teams in the NCAA Division I: Iowa State University, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Drake University. Average attendances for the Iowa Hawkeye and the Iowa State Cyclone football teams are over 50,000, showing the passion for the sport in a state of only 3 million residents. Iowa State’s and the University of Iowa’s basketball teams also pull a good crowd, with average attendances of over 14,000.
If and when daily fantasy sports is extended to college in Iowa, football is sure to be the biggest draw, but basketball is likely a close second.
Timeline of Daily Fantasy Sports Legislation
The daily fantasy sports landscape changed almost overnight in Iowa, with the passing of the landmark bill to legalize it in May 2019. While the dust is yet to settle, it appears that at long last DFS is coming to the Hawkeye State, just in time for the 2019 NFL season. Daily fantasy betting in indiana is also permitted by the state law.
Until this bill was passed, Iowans were prohibited from all forms of online gambling, which was presumed to include daily fantasy sports. However, as lawmakers in Des Moines looked increasingly favorably on gambling, optimism among fans began to grow and their patience was finally rewarded.
|2019||Governor Kim Reynolds signs into law a bill that legalizes both sports betting and daily fantasy sports.|
|2018||Representative Jake Highfill builds support for bill that would legalize sports betting in licensed racetracks and casinos.|
|2013||Third attempt is similarly unsuccessful in the state legislature.|
|2012||Second attempt to legalize some forms of online gambling is passed by the senate committee but rejected by the house.|
|2011||First attempt to legalize online poker is unsuccessful.|
|2006||States are effectively given the power to legalize or ban daily fantasy sports under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This law prohibits betting on games of chance, but excludes fantasy sports if they are designated games of skill by the state attorney.|
Legal Daily Fantasy Betting Age in Iowa
Under the new law passed in Iowa, players aged 21 or over will be able to play daily fantasy sports. However, in order to register online, they will have to visit a casino once to have their age verified. Underage gamblers that are caught may be charged, but the authorities tend to focus more energy on the establishments themselves. It is hoped that the in-person verification scheme will add an additional level of assurance that players are of age.
DFS Betting AgeWhen DFS is fully legalized, the minimum age to play will be 21.
Alcohol AgeThe legal drinking age in Iowa is 21.
Weed AgeRecreational marijuana is illegal in Iowa for any age.
Is Daily Fantasy Betting Legal Outside of the State?
Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, the legal status of daily fantasy sports has been considered a state matter and has often hinged on a positive or negative opinion from the state attorney general. For example, West Virginia daily fantasy sports was also legalized following an opinion from the attorney general that designated them games of skill, and therefore exempt from illegal gambling laws.
Many states operate in legal ambiguity when it comes to daily fantasy sports. daily fantasy betting in Illinois, for example, continues to be served by DraftKings and FanDuel, despite a negative attorney general opinion in 2015. Until this is clarified by the law, the somewhat confusing status quo appears set to continue.
Iowa is one of several states where daily fantasy sports has been historically banned, but more and more bills in the state legislatures are emerging to amend this.
Taxes on Daily Fantasy Winnings: Legal Overview
Gambling winnings are fully taxable in Iowa, whether or not one is a resident, and this would likely extend to daily fantasy sports when it is legalized. According to federal law, only annual winnings exceeding $600 must be declared so occasional players are likely to be unaffected. Those who gamble as a business are also able to deduct losses against other income and reduce their tax bill. In any event, it is important to check that you are compliant with both state and federal tax laws.
Upcoming Regulation Changes to Be Aware Of
Now that Iowa has taken the major step of legalizing daily fantasy sports, the devil is in the detail. Much more is likely to be clarified over the summer. It is a safe bet that all of the major operators, including Draft Kings and Fanduel, will apply for licenses to operate in the state and so Iowans should be able to take their pick of platforms and competitions.
The bill permits betting on the result of college sport games, but not on in-game events. This may pose a problem for daily fantasy sports based on college games. Given Iowa’s passion for college football, there may well be considerable pressure to open this up for amendment in the future, but for the time being, Iowans may have to content themselves with pro sports.