The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will hold its semi-regular public meeting Tuesday at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino. The commission last met in November at Q Casino in Dubuque. A closed, executive session will be held Monday to review Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation background checks connected to the planned merger of Eldorado Resorts, Inc. (the operator of the Isle properties in Waterloo and Bettendorf) and Caesars Entertainment (the operator of Harrah’s and Horseshoe casinos—both in Council Bluffs).
A legislative subcommittee advanced a bill Wednesday to modify how casinos address customer winnings. When a gambler nets more than $1,200, Iowa’s casinos must scan state records to search for debts owed to state agencies, such as back taxes sought by the Iowa Department of Revenue. A panel of the House State Government Committee—including Reps. Mike Sexton (R-Rockwell City), Jacob Bossman (R-Sioux City) and Dennis Cohoon (D-Burlington)—advanced House Study Bill 502, as first reported by Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter James Lynch.
Since prohibition ended in mid-August, Iowa’s IRGC-regulated casinos (Iowa’s four tribal casinos, operating under a different regulatory structure, do not offer sports betting) reported a $212.2 million handle—or amount bet—as of Jan. 9. They paid out $192.9 million to winners. Casinos captured $19.3 million in net receipts and transferred more than $1.3 million in taxes to the state, according to IRGC’s fiscal year 2020 revenue report. A staggering $75 million has been bet on sports at Altoona-based Prairie Meadows since the William Hill Sports Book venue opened in August. That handle is more than four times next biggest player, Waterloo-based Isle Casino Hotel Casino, which accepted $18.7 million in bets during the same period.