Iowa planning to add esports betting through new proposal

Published: Feb 17, 2021

Iowa, one of the first states to legalise online and brick and mortar sportsbooks after the Supreme Court ruling on the sports betting ban, are planning to legalise local esports betting as well as sports prop betting through a new proposal, HSB200.


HSB200 was introduced on February 10th, 2021. It is a proposal that aims to deal with two sports betting issues at the same time, it has already been heard in its first subcommittee hearing. This does not necessarily mean that change will come quickly, it is a study bill which means that once it has passed and the study has been completed, only then will any sort of action be taken.

Here are the major changes outlined in HSB200:

  • “Allows for eSports betting by adding a new subsection to Section 3, 99F.1 called 10A, or “Electronic sports event.”
  • “Allows for betting on ancillary sports-related events by adding a new subsection to Section 3, 99F.1 called 27A, or “Sports-related event.”

Here are the new betting markets that would be created if the state follows the recommendations of HSB200:

Electronic sports event – “a multiplayer video game event governed by a recognized professional, international, or collegiate video game governing body.”

Sports-related event – “an event that takes place in relation to an authorized sporting event, but that is not tied to the outcome of a specific athletic event or contest as authorized by the commission.” Cited examples include “professional sports drafts and individual player awards.”

What this means for Iowa

This will be a huge move for Iowa if it passes, regional and global governments and regulators are only just realising the importance of esports and esports betting. It is the fastest growing betting market in the world. If local laws don’t begin to change, we will see smaller sportsbooks and operators that only offer services in one region begin to be left in the dust as the younger bettors begin to move all of their bets to offshore and online betting operators that offer the services that they want.

Issues with the changes

Even if esports betting is legalised in Iowa, they will still have a problem with attracting new or younger bettors. The legal age for betting in Iowa is 21, much like drinking, if you want to do it before it is legal in your area, you will find a way. Despite betting in Iowa being legal, many bettors over the age of 18 but under 21 will be attracted to online betting operators that have a lower age requirement.

As a result of this requirement and the generally stricter laws on sports betting, if a professional eSports gamer is under 18 years old, he or she may not be wagered on, nor could matches in which they participate. In many cases there are young pro gamers on some of the top teams. This will again reduce the number of bets that can be placed on esports.

Iowa is attempting to move into the 21st century with their sports betting but the archaic laws that still exist in their system are preventing them from truly moving forward.

Andrew Boggs

Since: September 11, 2020

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

See all articles from this author

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