Iowa’s pace of sports wagering dropped for the third consecutive month in June, even as revenue jumped and the pace of betting per day held firm. The mostly positive month closed the book on a fiscal year that brought dramatic growth and more than $1.2bn in wagers in spite of a pandemic and in-person registration requirements that slowed betting for much of 2020, according to analysts from PlayIA.
“The year brought significant challenges to Iowa’s sportsbooks, which made the results all the more impressive,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com. “The best news is that with the pandemic’s effects on the industry waning, and online registration firmly in place, the last year is only a glimpse of Iowa’s true potential.”
Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks accepted $111.2m in June, according to official data released late Thursday. That is down 3.2 per cent from $114.9m in May. The pace of betting remained $3.7m per day over the 30 days of June, matching the $3.7m per day over the 31 days in May.
Net operator revenue rose to $8.4m in June, up 37.4 per cent from $6.1m in May. June’s handle resulted in $568,501 in tax revenue.
June’s results closed the book on fiscal year 2020-21, a pandemic-marred year that still brought impressive growth. In June 2020, Iowa’s sportsbooks took in $12.7m in bets, producing $620,740 in revenue as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the US sports schedule. For the entire year, online and retail sports betting accounted for $1.2bn in wagering, $90m in gross gaming revenue and $6.1m in tax revenue.
“With a lighter sports schedule and few local betting events to spur interest, Iowa won’t see significant growth in betting again until the football season,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com. “But there is no question that the Hawkeye State is in good position, poised for a fall expansion when Iowa, Iowa State, and the NFL once again draw bettors to sportsbooks.”
In June, $95.1m in bets were made online, representing 85.6 per cent of the state’s handle. Retail betting accounted for the remaining $16m, up from $15m in May.
William Hill’s sportsbooks accounted for 33 per cent of Iowa’s handle in June with $36.65m in total wagers, even as the operator’s handle ticked down from $37.6m in May. $34m of June’s wagers were made online. All told, June’s bets produced $1.8m in net receipts.
Wild Rose, which includes DraftKings and BetRivers, tallied $31.5m in online and retail wagering, which resulted in $2.5m in revenue. June’s handle was down from $33.8m in May and included $31.4m in online bets.
Diamond Jo, fueled by FanDuel and BetMGM, took in $26.6m in combined wagers, down from $27.6m in May. $22.6m of June’s wagering came online. That was enough to net a market-best $2.6m in revenue.
Iowa’s menu of online operators is growing, too. Bally Bet went live in late June, the second market the upstart operator has launched in. Meanwhile, a partnership between 888 Holdings and Sports Illustrated promises to bring the new SI Sportsbook to Iowa eventually, and PlayUp Sportsbook confirmed plans to enter the market later this year.
“Iowa is far from reaching its ceiling as a market,” Welman said. “New operators clearly still see untapped potential in the state, and that speaks positively to where the market is heading.”