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Iowa Lawmakers Halt Casino Sports Betting Registry Plans

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A panel of lawmakers in Iowa has taken a significant step by placing a hold on a proposed rule that would require casinos in the state to maintain comprehensive lists. These lists would include coaches, athletes and other officials who would be prohibited from placing sports bets due to their involvement in college sports or fantasy sports.

Too Much Scrutiny

Representative Megan Jones acknowledged that the proposed rule might have been influenced by the 2019 legislation that legalized sports betting in Iowa. However, she emphasized that this requirement would be unprecedented. "While 38 other states participate in sports gaming," Jones stated, "Iowa is the first to request or mandate such a list. We find ourselves at the forefront of this issue, and I'm uncertain if we're fully prepared for the implications."

One of the key points of contention lies in the specifics of the rule. Casinos would be obligated to maintain a detailed roster of athletes, athletic trainers, coaches and other affiliated individuals. Alternatively, they could purchase a subscription from a company claiming to provide the same service.

However, Jones highlighted a critical gap. She explained that there is now just one entity taking on this responsibility, and the list it maintains doesn't include the University of Iowa.

Jones further expressed skepticism about the feasibility of maintaining an accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date list of all sports figures who should refrain from betting on sporting events. "It would be nearly impossible," she asserted.

The legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee exercised its authority to delay the implementation of this rule until the spring of 2025. Notably, the rule would apply not only to in-person sporting events but also to fantasy sports.

Recently, a resolution seeking to nullify the rule entirely secured overwhelming approval in the Iowa House, passing with a decisive 92-1 vote. Now, it awaits action in the Senate.

A Possible Violation of Constitutional Rights

The process to block this new regulation began as early as September. This was well before charges against athletes from Iowa State University, who were accused of placing illegal sports bets, were ultimately dropped.

Two weeks ago, Assistant Story County Attorney Benjamin Matchan filed a motion seeking the dismissal of lingering charges against the athletes. The motion was grounded on fresh evidence concerning the extensive utilization of tracking software.

Specifically, the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) used GeoComply's Kibana, a tool aimed at ensuring users of popular sportsbooks adhere to the regulations by placing bets only within states where sports betting is legally permitted. The defense attorneys representing the implicated athletes contend that leveraging such software as evidence infringes upon Fourth Amendment language that prevents unreasonable searches and seizures.

The argument posits that the utilization of tracking software by law enforcement agencies raises concerns regarding privacy violations and potentially constitutes an overreach of investigative authority. As a result, the admissibility of evidence obtained through GeoComply's Kibana software is now a subject of legal contention.

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