International edition
October 27, 2021

$6.8M daily average

Iowa: sports betting volume reaches all-time high with a 94% increase in Sept.

Iowa: sports betting volume reaches all-time high with a 94% increase in Sept.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque, in Iowa.
United States | 10/14/2021

The sports betting handle exceeded $210 million, with August's numbers having reached $108.4 million. This increase has been attributed to the Cy-Hawk football game, NFL and college football seasons. However, numbers are still a small portion of the overall casino profits, with sports wagering revenue netting around $5 million for the operators.

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owa sports betting has reported an increase in its numbers during September, with wagers exceeding $210 million, providing the state a half million-dollar payout during the football season. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reported Friday that the sports betting handle increased 94% from $108.4 million in August

This has been attributed to the betting on the annual Cy-Hawk football game, as well as a full slate of college and NFL games. September’s numbers broke Iowa’s single-month record of $161.4 million set during college basketball’s March Madness, according to the commission’s report, and pushed Iowa sports betting past the $1 billion mark for 2021.

The betting pace rose to an average of $6.8 million a day over the 30 days of the month. Most Iowa sports bettors placed their bets online. Caesars handled $66.5 million in bets, with DraftKings seeing $64.8 million in action, PlayIowa.com reported.

During an interview with PlayIowa.com, Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator, Brian Ohorilko analyzed: “The excitement of both college football teams in Iowa has drawn some of the more casual fans"


Brian Ohorilko, Iowa Racing and Gaming Administrator.

September 2021’s numbers show a significant difference compared to September 2020, when the pandemic left the state with only a couple of Iowa State University football games to bet on. Although Ohorilko has seen a decline in marketing and advertising by sportsbook apps, he pointed out that it is still significant compared to a year ago. 

“When we were going through a period when in-person registration had sunset — and then also leading up to football this year — we were seeing levels advertising beyond anything we were seeing in the casino environment before. And so, there truly is an impact there”. 

Russ Mitchell, lead analyst for PlayIA.com, said: “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. 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".

“It’s important to note that sports wagering and the revenue that is generated from sports wagering is really a very small portion of the overall revenue in the casino industry,” Ohorilko pointed out, and said that September sports revenue netted around $5 million for the casinos and sports wagering companies. This figure is down from August’s numbers which accounted for $6.6 million. Ohorilko attributed most of that to customers redeeming promotional receipts.

“Sports wagering is something that people are interested in — and we are seeing success in that market — and we are seeing it conducted in a way that Iowans can feel safe that they are making bets in a regulated environment,” according to Ohorilko.

Still, the state collected $512,951 in tax revenue for the month, pushing the total for the year to $5.2 million.

Ohorilko foresees the state collecting additional revenue in the future, with more sports betting operators entering the Iowa market such as Fubo Sportsbook, Betway Sportsbook and Circa Sports. 

Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayIA.com, said: “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.”

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