Some might call it a roll of the dice. But Prairie Meadows officials believe the odds of sports betting becoming legal in Iowa are in their favor.
The Altoona racetrack and casino has transformed a portion of its fourth-floor horse racing simulcast area into a Las Vegas-style sports book and bar, part of a larger $1.5 million renovation project.
Walls of televisions are ready to display games and betting odds for gamblers eager to place bets on professional or college games.
But before that can happen, Iowa lawmakers would have to legalize sports gambling in the state.
This week, lawmakers took some first steps. A Senate committee Thursday advanced a bill that would put Iowa casinos in charge of running sports betting operations. A similar House bill has moved out of subcommittee.
"It’s not presumptuous to say (Prairie Meadows’ sports book could open) before July," said Brad Rhines, Prairie Meadows’ senior vice president and chief strategic officer.