Just In: Iowa Collected $16.3 Million In Super Bowl Bets

Written By Russ Mitchell on February 24, 2022
Super Bowl bets

NFL fans in Iowa didn’t have the Kansas City Chiefs to bet on, but the state’s 2022 Super Bowl bets still matched the pace set a year ago.

Iowa sportsbooks collected $16.275 million in Super Bowl LVI wagers for the LA Rams-Cincinnati Bengals game on Feb. 13. The total just missed the $16.3 million in Super Bowl LV bets for the 2021 game between the Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) administrator Brian Ohorilko confirmed the state’s Super Bowl betting volume on Thursday.

“We weren’t really sure what to expect. Most people thought we’d see higher numbers in the Super Bowl than what we saw in 2021. Simply because: Across the board, we’ve been seeing more handle and more revenue.”

The industry uses “handle” as the term for the amount wagered by betting customers. Iowa customers placed $303 million in January 2022 bets. Iowa passed the $300 million mark in handle for the first time ever with January’s total.

The January success led some industry observers to expect a record for the Super Bowl, however. But, like the Bengals, final Iowa numbers came up just short.

“The one thing that some people have wondered is if the lack of a local team in the Super Bowl might have an impact,” Ohorilko said. “You know, that could be one reason why we didn’t see an increase in Super Bowl handle from 2021.”

Super Bowl bets are unaudited but reliable

The IRGC staff audits sports betting numbers from 19 casinos and their 18 sportsbook partners each month. February’s revenue totals will come out in early March, but individual events, such as the Super Bowl or March Madness, aren’t itemized. Iowa doesn’t require casinos to report sports betting on an event-by-event basis.

If sportsbooks have to reveal the success of an individual event, that might give their competitors an advantage, Ohorilko explained.

“The Super Bowl is something that’s very popular and the industry recognizes the public interest. They have agreed to voluntarily disclose these numbers on the events. After the Super Bowl, each of the operators will submit information to the Iowa Gaming Association.”

The Iowa Gaming Association compiles those numbers and provides them to the commission, then to any other interested party.

“It’s a big event and I think it’s good for the public to have that information and just understand what’s being wagered.”

The Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI. That means LA’s NFC team won moneyline bets, but Cincinnati covered the spread at +4 going into the game.

Super Bowl LVI marked just the third year Iowa customers could legally bet on the game. Super Bowl LIV in 2020 attracted $9.8 million in bets.

Photo by Steve Luciano / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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