Circa Sports Marks Iowa Debut With A CEO Visit

Written By Russ Mitchell on November 17, 2021

When the Iowa State football team traveled Sept. 18 to Las Vegas for a 48-3 win, it’s a safe bet many fans visited Circa Resort & Casino to see the world’s largest sportsbook. Now, those same customers can make Circa Sports bets from a mobile device here in Iowa.

Customers heard it right from the source.

A month after the Iowa State game, Circa Sports CEO Derek Stevens and the Circa Sports team made a trip to promote Iowa’s 16th sportsbook.

“We’re pretty excited. The launch happened right during football season. And we had a great event … at various locations in Des Moines and then up at Wild Rose in Jefferson. We had an opportunity to meet a whole lot of people.”

Stevens said a takeaway from the event was just how excited everyone was for the sportsbook.

“I think we all felt a lot of hospitality. With Circa Sports coming to Iowa, we think we’re going to offer a great product with some great customer service to Iowa bettors.”

The Circa Sports product arrived ahead of the team

Circa Sports has an agreement with Wild Rose Jefferson for remote betting in the state. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved the contract in April. The Circa Sports app went live on Oct. 7 and Stevens wants the company to focus on great customer service.

“We focus on making it easy and friendly for a recreational or first-time bettor. But at the same time, we’re also willing to take the largest bets. We’re willing to work with professional gamblers. We’re not going to be limiting people. And I think that’s a component as well. That makes Circa Sports a little bit more unique.”

Sportsbook debuts at heart of football season

Circa Sports is grabbing its sports betting surfboard when the waves have never been higher in Iowa. The state set a record handle of $210.4 million in September. Circa arrived as the state soared past the high mark again with $280.1 million in October.

“We’re in a great time of the season, obviously. October was helped with five football weekends, but to see the growth, and the trend is terrific. I’m of the thought — and I have been of the thought for a long time — that sports betting is still in its infancy. Not just Iowa, but throughout the country.”

And I think that sports betting numbers a year from now will break our records. Two years from now, we’ll break all the records made in 2022. I just think that we’re in a very, very early stage of a growth industry.”

Circa Sports CEO likes Iowa policies

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) staff tracks sports wagering totals by casino as well as by sportsbook. Stevens doesn’t see that in every state.

“All the numbers are laid out there publicly which is different than most other states. So it kind of becomes interesting to see how everybody’s shaking out, who’s winning market share and who’s not.”

The Circa CEO thinks the regulatory environment in Iowa sets itself up to become a leading state for sports betting. He spent time in central Iowa, but knows the state benefits when it draws customers from Omaha, NE, Sioux Falls, SD and the Illinois side of the Quad Cities.

“They’re going to go to Iowa to make make make their plays. And while they do that, they’re going to potentially stay in a hotel and maybe spend some more money on food and beverage within the state. The way Iowa set up their sports wagering regulations, I think it’s a positive for Iowa in many different industries, not just sports wagering. It’s going to impact a handful of other industries positively.”

Stevens also pledged return trips to Iowa.

“We definitely plan on having a strong focus in Iowa because we’ve had such a great initial welcome. We hope our product and our service is embraced by Iowans. And we believe that’s what’s going to happen.”

 

Photo by Circa Sports
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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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