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Iowa Race Wagering

Iowa offers simulcasting and live races for both horse racing and greyhound racing. Racetracks must be licensed to conduct pari-mutuel wagering in order to qualify for a license to offer casino games.

In May 1983, the Iowa legislature passed the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act legalizing pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog racing in the state. On 1 July 1983, the Act established Iowa's Racing Commission. The Commission was responsible for administration of the laws and rules on pari-mutuel wagering at racetracks and consisted of five members, each serving a staggered three-year term. An administrator was appointed for a four-year term, responsible for managing the operations of the Commission. When gambling boats were legalized in 1989, the Racing Commission was renamed the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) and administered gambling laws as well as pari-mutuel wagering.

In July 1989, pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races was authorized by the legislature.

In 2004, minimum percentages for annual horse racing purses between 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2021 were set at 11% for net receipts of $200 million or less and at 6% for net receipts over $200 million. Net receipts were defined as the annual adjusted gross receipts from all gambling games less the annual amount of money pledged by the owner of the facility to fund a project approved to receive Vision Iowa funds.

In October 2005, the IRGC denied a request, made by the National Cattle Congress, to reopen Waterloo Greyhound Park. The decision was appealed, but it failed and the park was never reopened.

In November 2011, the IRGC unanimously approved legal wagering on horse races by phone or online for Iowa players. Also in 2011, advance deposit wagering was approved and the purse structure was set for all horse racing whereby 76% was designated for thoroughbred racing, 15.25% for quarter-horse racing and 8.75% for standardbred racing.
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