Even Without Football, Iowa Sports Betting Handle For August Rivals Best Months

Posted on September 11, 2020 - Last Updated on September 13, 2020

Up until last month, the most robust months for Iowa sportsbooks had one thing in common: college football and NFL season. Iowa August sports betting handle for this year has proved that IA bettors aren’t so narrow in their scope, however.

The total of over $50.31 million last month not only was more than twice what Iowans wagered in July of this year, but also rivals the most lucrative months for IA sportsbooks since legal wagering began. It bodes well for the rest of this year, too.

Breaking down the Iowa August sports betting handle

Total handle rose by nearly about $27.46 million, or 55%, from July.

August 2020 represents the first month that it’s possible to do a year-over-year comparison in the Hawkeye State. The state’s sports betting landscape is much more robust now, which weakens a comparison of 2019’s August numbers.

Of the total, nearly 70% came from online wagers. Once again, William Hill was the winner in market share, grabbing almost 59% of the online handle.

A breakdown of August 2020, by operator, is as follows:

CasinoHandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (6.75%)
Totals$50,313,201$34,993,350$15,320,323$3,003,903$202,315
Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino (William Hill)$14,171,527.35 $13,310,813.40 $860,713.95$692,928.74 $46,772.69
Wild Rose - Jefferson (DraftKings) $5,513,310.63$5,445,548.21$67,762.42$148,993.67$10,057.07
Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo (William Hill)$4,349,332.40$4,220,273.85$129,058.55$181,624.10$12,259.63
Ameristar II$3,914,694.59$0.00$3,914,694.59$342,010.10$23,085.68
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort (Elite)$3,726,292.01$3,008,139.58$718,152.43$181,873.43$12,276.46
Diamond Jo - Worth$3,031,453.25$0.00$3,031,453.25$414,015.75$27,946.06
Isle of Capri - Bettendorf (William Hill)$2,285,862.97$1,924,500.93$361,362.04$106,200.50$7,168.53
Q Casino (Q Sportsbook)$2,228,620.98$1,059,814.57$1,168,806.41$101,165.45$6,828.67
Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs $1,864,192.07$0.00$1,864,192.07$193,321.04$13,049.17
Catfish Bend Casino (PointsBet)$1,390,647.31$1,153,663.26$236,984.05$104,183.53$7,032.39
Grand Falls Casino (Elite)$1,341,377.71$436,564.99$904,812.72$75,099.99$5,153.49
Hard Rock Casino (Hard Rock)$1,212,895.48$786,081.87$426,813.61$2,651.21$178.96
Wild Rose - Clinton (DraftKings)$1,205,164.14$1,127,925.65$77,238.49$113,227$7,642.82
Rhythm City Casino (Elite)$1,071,269.86$594,854.98$476,414.88$72,181.52$4,872.25
Wild Rose - Emmetsburg (DraftKings)$1,057,571.12$971,092.07$86,479.05$108,482.15$7,322.55
Lakeside Casino (William Hill)$1,056,820.65$954,077.60$102,743.05$86,509.67$5,839.40
Diamond Jo - Dubuque$743,393.25$0.00$743,393.25$64,143.25$4,329.67
Harrah's Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel$149,248.64$0.00$149,248.64$15,292.35$500.08
Casino Queen - Marquette$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00

Handle clearing $50 million is remarkable for this specific market. In its best month, November 2019, Iowa sportsbooks have recorded yet, it came in at over $59.34 million.

August’s total is even more remarkable, considering there wasn’t any football gameplay during the month. All of the previous $50 million+ months in the history of legal IA sports betting came within the confines of football season.

College football and NFL futures bets could have played a role in growth. However, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission doesn’t provide a breakdown of what bettors wagered upon by sport.

Regardless, this is a reason for optimism for IA sportsbooks. The coming months could bear even better returns for the 18 Iowa casinos and their online counterparts.

Coming months could set new records for IA

In addition to the launch of Betfred and FanDuel going live in August, the kickoff of NFL and Cyclones football bodes well for Iowa sportsbooks.

Football is, by far, the most popular betting sport in the US. The start of the NFL season alone could produce an additional $10 million in handle, which would likely make September 2020 the new gold standard for Iowa handle.

If the regional teams get off to hot starts, that could stoke further interest in NFL sports betting. Their inclusion in this season’s NFL playoffs could produce an ideal situation as well.

The in-person registration requirement for online wagering will expire on New Year’s Day 2021. That’s just in time for the NFL postseason.

Should the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs or Minnesota Vikings qualify for the playoffs, Iowa sportsbooks could start the new year online with a bang.

For now, however, Iowa books flirt with record-high numbers in a month despite no football and the in-person mandate.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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