Iowa is moving forward with a piece of legislation that is expected to introduce cashless payment options on casino floors and also push esports betting as one of the new verticals gamblers in the state may explore. House File 2497 has already cleared one of the first hurdles.
Cashless Gaming to Hit Casino Floors
In a House of Representatives vote, the proposal managed to pass with 71-28 voting in favor of the proposition. If subsequent votes are successful, HF 2497 has a real chance of bringing quite the change across the state’s 19 casino floors which may soon abandon cash and use cashless gaming products.
But the bill is far more comprehensive as well as it seeks to use the technology to promote safer gambling. A cashless gambling system would be predicated on a digital wallet which can be taught to monitor gaming behavior and determine when an individual is spending too much and is able to act, such as intervene and temporarily suspend gambling.
The proposal is unique because it focuses on both sports betting and casino gaming at the same time. While cashless gaming technology is important for HF 2497, the proposal also wants to introduce esports betting as part of the current sports betting framework. The state has had sports betting since 2019 when the industry was legalized and it took another two years to introduce mobile betting.
Cashless gaming technology is generally touted as a safer and more responsible way to play and there are already numerous solutions that allow just that. Cashless technology is already adopted and deployed in Nevada and remote registration for such solutions is up and running. One of the companies leading this charge is IGT.
Esports Betting on Its Way to Iowa
Now that it has, though, Iowa is looking to tie any loose ends that remain, and enabling betting on esports is one such. Whether it succeeds though will depend purely on what comes next. HF 2497 is heading to the Senate Committee on State Government for a first review before it’s put on the Senate floor for a vote.
The bill is a nice step forward in recognizing esports as a viable part of the entertainment experience and acknowledging that a safe betting environment is necessary. However, lawmakers still have a few misgivings about esports.
Because of poor information, the bill would require only esports competitions that are governed by an international or recognized professional body to take place. Alternatively, this may include collegiate video game governing bodies. This is good news and bad news at the same time. On the one hand, college esports are thriving in North America, and there are official bodies.
On the other hand, professional esports are not necessarily governed by any central bodies and they are self-governed or regulated with the help of third-party tournament hosts, game developers, and publishers. Titles such as Dota 2 and Fortnite are mentioned, but the lawmakers who are drafting the bill must not be aware that esports works differently than sports. Therefore, even if the bill passes, it’s possible it would need an overhaul very soon.
Most recently, West Virginia put forward HB 4826 for a vote in a bid to also introduce esports as a part of the legal sports betting framework in the state. Nevada has put together a special committee to discuss the implications of introducing more esports betting markets and whether this poses any threat to the integrity of competitive video gaming events.