Iowa’s sportsbooks continued a run of monthly declines in betting volume, taking in less than $89m in July wagers in what was the 24th month of sports betting in the state.
July’s betting volume decrease is historically the single slowest month for sports wagering in the US, and even the Olympics and NBA Finals couldn’t reverse the trend in Iowa, according to PlayIA, a source for news and analysis of the Iowa gaming market.
Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks took in $88.9m in July, down 20% from $111.2m in June to extend a streak of month-on-month declines to four. July marked the lowest handle in the state since November 2020, as bettors placed $2.9m per day over the 31 days of July, well short of the $3.7m per day in June.
The betting volume results followed a historical trend. The pandemic skewed 2020 data, but the lowest volume month across the US in both 2018 and 2019 was in July. The boost in volume pushed net operator revenue to $7.1m in June, down 15.7% from $8.4m in June. That resulted in $479,479 in tax revenue for the state.
Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayIA.com, noted: “The Olympics and the later-than-usual NBA Finals gave bettors more opportunities to place a bet than what would be a typical July, but neither were able to move the needle much. Bettors simply check out in July, when summer vacations and other pursuits take precedence. But a surge in betting will certainly come with the beginning of the football season.”
Baseball and basketball held most of Iowa’s betting water in July. Iowa put in place a cautious framework for Olympics betting, which barred wagering on individual events that feature athletes under the age of 18. That took some of the betting inventory off the board.
“Mainstream sports such as basketball and golf, along with a handful of high-profile events, have drawn the most Olympics interest,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayUSA.com and PlayIA.com. “But there was no wave of action from the Olympics. Bettors aren’t as comfortable wagering on Olympic events.
“And partly it’s because betting on many high-profile events in swimming and gymnastics, which took center stage in the early part of the Olympics, were barred because minors were competing.”
Sports betting launched in Iowa on August 15, 2019, which made July 2021 the 24th month of operation. It has been a winding road with the pandemic that hobbled the industry in 2020 and the removal of in-person registration requirements that has rocketed the market forward in 2021.
In 24 months, Iowa sportsbooks have generated $1.7bn in wagering, $122.8m in gross gaming revenue and $8.3m in tax revenue
“Iowa has experienced so many twists and turns over the last two years, but the state’s sportsbooks find themselves in a good place,” Welman said. “Sportsbooks will hit more than $1bn in wagering by September at the latest, nearly doubling the handle for all of 2020 before football kicks off. That is staggering growth.”
In July, $77.9m in bets were made online, representing 87.6% of the state’s handle. Retail betting accounted for the remaining $11m.
Caesars Sportsbook, which was rebranded from William Hill, generated 35% of Iowa’s handle in July with $31.1m in total wagers. That is down from $36.65m in June. $28.7m of July’s wagers were made online. In all, July’s wagering yielded $1m in net receipts.
Wild Rose, which includes DraftKings and BetRivers, took in $25.2m in online and retail wagering, down from $31.5m in June. July’s handle included $25m in online wagering. The wagering was enough to produce $2.6m in revenue, topping the market.
Diamond Jo, fueled by FanDuel and BetMGM, was third in the state with $21.4m in combined wagers, down from $26.6m in June. $18.4m of July’s wagering came online. That was enough to net a market-leading $2.4m in revenue.
Bally Bet, the state’s newest operator, collected $1.1m in wagers and $111,157 in revenue in its first full month of operation.