Printers In Iowa city will be abuzz when they print countless copies of the NCAA Tournament.
This is one of the major athletic events of the sports year and one Legislature member in Iowa would like the law expanded so that fans will be able to bet more money on brackets and also including online fantasy sports.
Author of the bill is a former student at the University of Iowa, Rep. Jake Highfill, R-Johnston, said it blew his mind to realise that the laws had not caught up with online gambling. He said that people often said they play all the time and were shocked to find that, in fact, they were breaking the law.
Mr Highfill has said that his goal is to help his constituents, like the one that brought the problem to his attention. The bill would increase the betting limit to $500 if participants did not have to pay entrance fees. Currently the law in Iowa only allows a person to win $50, which means that people will unknowingly break the law, and this is a law that is a challenge to enforce.
Mr Highfill continued that he thought it was 'a kind of silly thing' that it is against the law and he did not believe that the law at present would be enforced.
Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville has said that he believed that the Bill has merit, he expressed concern that players might lose too much money on gambling. He also said that he believed that there are other pressures that will prevent the bill going through in this session, and they include people who are concerned that gambling would become a personal problem.
Mr Jocoby also said that there was bipartisan support to keep the current gambling limits and that he felt that these two obstacles will be difficult to overcome.
A UI associate professor of economics, John Solow who is an economics expert said that he agreed with Mr Highfell, and believed that people were always betting on something and its is not always referred to as gambling.
Professor Solow said that he did not see gambling on fantasy sports as being any different from gaambling on cards or roulette or even the one armed bandit. He also said that it should be peoples own decision to bet on a game like fantasy baseball or football, or on the NCAA March Madness pool.
Even if the expansion of the gambling limit bill goes throughy the law that prohibits gambling on school property that includes the University of Iowa will remain in place.
Students support this bill and they believe that the high stakes will force participants to pay more attention to their fantasy teams.
Jeff Kingsley a UI senior said that he thought a lot of the fantasy sports is just a group of friends, but that it was also individualistic as almost everyone is doing it, he also said its a lot of fun and rewarding at the same time. Mr Kingsley said that he has played fantasy sport ever since he was able to access an email address. He expressed preference for fantasy sport, as this is usaually with a group of friends or family or co-workers rather then gambling on sports or visiting a casino.
Players on fantasy sports agree that the $500 limit will be difficult to reach for students they felt it was perfect for allowing other players room to play.
UI freshman, John Talbot said that the $500 is a nice amount that allows high rollers to play comfortably. But he also felt anything more than $500 and they would be making too much money.
UI professor Thomas Oates has said that after the brackets have crumbled due to frustration, fantasy players will be flocking back to their different leagues as the new season approaches, this will mean small scale gambling.
He continued that in his experience it was commonplace practice for small pool wagers. He also said that gambling is widespread especially among sports fans even if it is technically illegal.
Read also our Iowa Fails in Online Gambling Legislation article...