Iowa Sportsbooks See Regrowth In July With Return Of Major Sports

Written By Derek Helling on August 12, 2020 - Last Updated on August 16, 2020

Adapting a famous line from a movie set in Iowa, sportsbooks in the state proved that “If you offer it, they will come.”

Iowa sports betting handle for July was $10 million higher than June’s. The single biggest factor leading to that gain was the return of domestic sports. To what extent the growth continues depends on the state of sports and the pandemic going forward.

Iowa sports betting handle numbers for July

Altogether, the state’s online and retail sportsbooks collected over $22.85 million in wagers during July 2020. That’s an increase of about 44.3% from June.

Win for July came to $2.24 million, which is an increase of about 72.4% from the previous month’s total of $630,740. IA sportsbooks paid $151,918 in taxes last month.

Once again, online sportsbooks and William Hill dominated the market share. A breakdown, by operator, is as follows:

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (6.75%)
Prairie MeadowsWilliam Hill$7,294,327$6,920,740$373,587$529,541$35,744
Wild Rose - JeffersonDraftKings$2,802,119$2,777,934$24,185$164,536$11,106
Isle - WaterlooWilliam Hill$1,929,869$1,895,741$34,128$151,166$10,204
Q CasinoQ Sportsbook$1,071,133$684,084$387,050$91,714$6,191
Diamond Jo - Worth--$1,007,110$0$1,007,110$218,125$14,723
Isle - BettendorfWilliam Hill$953,132$836,188$116,945$83,491$5,636
Wild Rose - ClintonDraftKings$873,193$852,086$21,108$82,958$5,600
Hard RockHard Rock$680,675$548,928$131,748$60,499$4,084
Catfish BendPointsBet$552,025$447,738$104,287$56,631$3,823
Grand FallsElite$469,812$154,739$315,073$42,139$2,760
LakesideWilliam Hill$444,637$413,477$31,160$16,138$1,089
Rhythm CityElite$396,602$275,541$121,061$71,189$4,805
Wild Rose - EmmetsburgDraftKings$321,909$281,800$40,109$61,565$4,156
Diamond Jo - Dubuque--$267,034$0$267,034$91,879$6,202

Although a third consecutive month of growth is good news, this total still pales in comparison to what bettors in the Hawkeye State have accomplished. In February, for example, Iowa sports bettors wagered more than $56.92 million on sporting events.

For sportsbooks to flirt with those numbers again, the sporting event calendar will need to stay full. Right now, that looks like a precarious position.

MLB’s inconsistency, college football postponement diminish growth

While the NBA restart, NHL playoffs and WNBA regular season are moving forward within “bubbles” without a hitch so far, the same can’t be said for college football and the MLB.

For example, the St. Louis Cardinals have only played five games since the 2020 season start because of continued positive COVID-19 tests by players and other staff.

Additionally, FBS collegiate conferences, like the MAC and the Mountain West, have announced that they won’t play sports this fall. If there is any football in those conferences, it will take place in the spring.

The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 the postponement of its fall football season. The Big 12 has shifted to a conference-only schedule so far. If that happens, it could be significant for Iowa sportsbooks.

In IA, the closest thing to a major professional sports team is the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. That means Iowa and Iowa State football and men’s basketball are big-ticket events for sports betting.

Not having college football would put an even bigger premium on NFL games for sportsbooks this fall. So far, the NFL has canceled preseason games but plans to play the regular season.

The reason for concern is that unlike the NBA and NHL, and like MLB, the NFL plans to have teams travel to play games in the usual venues. The NBA and the NHL have “bubbles,” where all games take place in one or two “hubs” where team personnel are sequestered.

IA sportsbooks need the NFL to be more successful at protecting its players than MLB has been because the cancellation of NFL games could stunt their recovery.

Through July, however, the sports betting industry in IA seems to be on the right track.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling