Sports Betting in Iowa Off to a Nice Start
Iowans wagered $8.6 million on sporting events during the first 17 days of legal sports betting in the state, according to figures released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission this past Friday.
The state legalized sports betting earlier this year and its new law on athletic wagering took effect on August 15. A total of 13 of the state’s 19 brick-and-mortar casinos have gone live with a wagering products since mid-August.
The state gambling regulator offered on Friday a first look at sports betting figures. The state’s sportsbooks handled a total of $8,576,246 between August 15-31. Most of that handle came from bets on college sports. But as the new NFL season unfolds, betting handle is only poised to increase.
The new betting operations generated overall revenue of $2,161,688 during the first days of regulated sports wagering on the territory of the state. Here it is important to note that Iowa lawmakers legalized both retail and digital sports betting.
Under the state’s newly adopted sports wagering law, brick-and-mortar casinos can operate multiple betting skins. That paired with an operators friendly 6.75% tax rate provides excellent conditions for the establishment of a thriving wagering market. Of course, it is still too early to say whether that would be the case.
The Top Performers
Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel in Altoona handled more than a third of all wagers placed in the state during its first weeks of sports gambling. The property had teamed up with the US division of British bookmaker William Hill for the operation of a sportsbook.
The sports betting facility at Prairie Meadows handled $3,411,885 between August 15-31 and generated revenue of $532,771 during the same period, according to figures from the state’s gambling regulator.
Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs was the other gambling venue to report a seven-figure handle. The property took in $1,364,723 in bets last month and generated revenue of $480,650.
As mentioned above, Iowans can also place wagers online. At present, two companies provide digital betting services, with those being William Hill and Elite Sportsbook. While it can be said that William Hill is already and established brand in nearly every US market where sports betting is legal, Elite is a newcomer in this space.
The two online sports betting operators took in a total of $424,129 in revenue last month and their betting handle accounted for less than a half of all wagers placed in the state. In comparison, in New Jersey, digital sports betting is performing much better. Last month, desktop and mobile bets accounted for 85% of betting handle.
However, while in New Jersey digital sports gambling happens entirely remotely, Iowans are required to first register at a physical location in order to be able to place wagers online. This is not such a big of a hurdle, but it has certainly had some impact on the early growth of online sports wagering in Iowa.