Iowa’s sportsbooks broke the record for monthly wagers and surpassed $200m for the first time in September thanks to the return of football, according to PlayIA, a source for news and analysis of the Iowa gaming market.
Bettors placed $210.4m in wagers at Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks during September, up 94.1% from August’s $108.4m and up 190.7% from September 2020’s $72.4m, according to official data. The pace of betting rose to $6.8m per day over the month from $2.4m per day in the same month last year.
September’s wagering shattered the previous monthly record handle, which was March’s $161.4m.
Russ Mitchell, lead analyst for PlayIA.com, commented: “The first full month of football was bound to cross new thresholds, and one of the most-watched Cy-Hawk games in history pushed the volume to another level.
“By any measure, September was a remarkable month. And the future looks just as bright as the Hawkeyes remain among the nation’s best, teams of regional interest litter baseball’s postseason, and bettors become increasingly comfortable with online betting.”
Heavy promotion by sportsbooks in September impacted operator revenue, which fell 13.5% to $5.7m from August’s $6.6m. However, the month’s revenue was up 10.6% from $5.2m in September 2020. The month’s gain yielded $512,951 in tax revenue for the state.
In the year so far, Iowa sportsbooks have generated $1.2bn in wagering, $74.8m in operator revenue, and $5.2m in state taxes.
Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com, stated: “Iowa was negatively affected by the slow summer season more than most markets, so it might be easy to lose sight of just how much growth the market is experiencing. Iowa will almost certainly triple the wagering compared with 2020 and could go even higher if a few things fall into place. That is dramatic growth by any measure.”
Broken down per vertical, Iowa’s online sportsbooks brought in $186.5m in September bets, 88.6% of the state’s handle. Retail betting accounted for the remaining $23.9m, though retail sportsbooks generated $4.2m of the state’s $5.7m in combined net receipts.
In the online market, Caesars led the way with $66.5m in online wagers, generating just $749 in net receipts. DraftKings achieved $64.8m in online wagering, but its revenue recorded a $1.9m loss.
In retail, Ameristar Council Bluffs topped the board with $6m in wagers, producing $200,864 in operator revenue. Diamond Jo Worth followed with $5.5m, with $488,294 in revenue.
Mitchell added: “Following the removal of in-person registration requirements earlier this year, online sportsbooks have a unique opportunity to build on the momentum created by such a strong September.
“Operators will work hard in keeping new bettors engaged, especially those who placed a bet for the first time for the Cy-Hawk game. Those operators that are successful in those efforts will lift their fortunes for months to come.”