On March 12, 2015, the Iowa Senate passed a bill that would allow Iowans participating in fantasy sports leagues to claim prizes and awards. Iowa Senate File 166 (“SF 166”) was passed by a 32-16 vote and placed on the House calendar under “unfinished business.”
SF 166 would amend Iowa Code Section 99B.11, subsection 2, by adding “Fantasy or Simulation Sports Contests” to the list of bona fide contests. The description of a fantasy or simulation sports contest in the bill consists of three factors:
- All prizes and awards offered to contest winners must be established and made known to the participants in advance of the contest and the value of the prizes or awards cannot be determined by the number of participants or the amount of fees paid by the participants.
- All winning outcomes in the contest must reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and must be determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals, including athletes in multiple real world sporting events.
- Winning outcomes in the contest cannot be based (i) on the score, point spread, or any performance or performances of any single real world team or combination of such teams or (ii) solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single actual sporting event.
Note: “Athlete” in this bill does not include an athlete participating in any extracurricular interscholastic athletic contest or competition which is sponsored or administered by an organization approved by the Department of Education under Iowa Code Section 280.13.
According to section two of SF 166, the Department of Inspections and Appeals would conduct a study no earlier than July 1, 2016. The study would focus on the impact of defining fantasy sports contests as bona fide contests. The department would solicit input from Racing and Gaming Commission licensees, individuals involved in gambling treatment programs, fantasy sports contest providers, and other interested stakeholders. Input received by the department would be included in the study. The department would submit a report, including any findings and recommendations, to the general assembly by December 1, 2016.