Betting at Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks slowed in April to less than $120m, the lowest handle since December though an expected pullback in what is the beginning of the slower summer period in sports betting. But on the two-year anniversary of Gov. Kim Reynolds signing sports betting into law, Iowa sportsbooks have generated $101.1m in operator revenue since the industry launched in 2019, giving the state’s sports betting industry a historic milestone on its second birthday.
“Seeing $100m in lifetime revenue is an attention-getting milestone that crystallises just how much growth Iowa has enjoyed this year,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIA.com. “The removal of in-person registration at the beginning of the year has been the catalyst for the industry’s expectation-busting start to the year. But other factors have helped, too, including a fierce competition among some of the country’s best-known operators, which have been aggressive and creative in reaching new bettors.”
Iowa sportsbooks accepted $118.4m in bets in April, according to official data. That is down 26.7 per cent from the record $161.4m in bets in March and the lowest volume since sportsbooks collected $104.8m in bets in December.
Net operator revenue was relatively strong though, hitting $7.7m in April. That was down 42.6 per cent from April’s record $13.5m in net receipts. April’s revenue produced $521,455 in state taxes. Since January, when in-person registration rules were lifted, Iowa sportsbooks have produced $40.2m in net receipts, or 39.8 per cent of the state’s lifetime handle.
Without the NFL or the NCAA Tournament, sports betting has historically lightened from April through August in legal US markets.
“Nothing can quite replace the interest that the NFL and the NCAA Tournament drives, so a pullback in April is no surprise,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIA.com. “But with a full month of regular season NBA and Major League Baseball, Iowa still put together a decent showing in April. That is an excellent sign as we head into the slower summer months, which could be busier than in an ordinary year because of the Olympics and later-than-usual NBA playoffs.”
Online betting generated $104.5m in bets or 88.3 per cent of the state’s overall handle. Meanwhile, retail betting fell to $13.8m from $22.1m in March.
Longstanding Iowa leader William Hill, which is partners with six Iowa casinos — Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Horseshoe Casino – Council Bluffs, Isle Casino Hotel – Waterloo, Isle Casino Hotel – Bettendorf, Lakeside Hotel Casino, and Harrah’s Council Bluffs — topped the market with $39.1 million in handle, including $35.7 million in online wagers. April produced $1.8 million in net receipts.
Wild Rose took in $34.6m in online and retail bets. That included $34.3m online. Still, Wild Rose led the market with $2.6m in net receipts.
FanDuel and BetMGM helped put Diamond Jo in third place with $29.2m in April bets, which included $26.1m in online wagering.
“The Iowa market is still a long way from maturity,” Welman said. “The largest sportsbooks are in a fight for market share while competitors turn their eyes to Iowa, an increasingly attractive market for emerging operators. The next few months should bring a flurry of activity, as operators jockey for position ahead of football season.”
Caption: Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino