Iowa Sports Fans Gambled $38.6 Million More In October

Written By Adam Hensley on November 16, 2022
Sports betting in Iowa saw a month-to-month bump in October 2022

The latest Iowa sports betting report is in, and it reveals that Iowans bet more in October than in September. 

According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission report, Iowa sportsbooks saw a total of $238.8 million in sports bets — roughly a $38.6 million increase from September.

Iowa gaming operators also took home $19.1 million in sports betting revenue for the month. It’s a slight decrease from last month’s revenue total of $25.4 million (an all-time high for the state).

However, October’s revenue still ranked third all-time for a single month for Iowa. Iowa collected $1.3 million in taxes that month, too.

Iowa sports betting handle, 2021 vs. 2022

Even though handle (the total amount of sports bets) in October increased from the previous month, it declined from the same month in 2021. Iowa’s October 2021 handle came out to $285.5 million. October 2021’s total is roughly $46.7 million less than the previous year.

DraftKings top Iowa sportsbook in October

DraftKings was Iowa’s most popular sportsbook by a wide margin.

The sportsbook totaled an online handle of roughly $78.4 million. The next-highest October handle came from FanDuel ($50.1 million), Caesars ($39.5 million) and BetMGM ($18.2 million).

DraftKings’ handle for October showed an increase month-to-month. Compared to September, the sportsbook recorded a handle of $66 million. That $12.4 million jump was the highest of any sportsbook in Iowa month-to-month in October.

Caesars had the next-highest jump in handle, climbing $9 million from September to October. FanDuel’s handle was also up, showing about a $7.7 million month-to-month increase. BetMGM also saw its sports betting handle grow with a $1.6 million increase in handle.

Iowa sports bettors continued to prefer gambling online. The state saw an online gambling handle of roughly $212.8 million in October. The retail handle came out to a little more than $26 million.

October’s sports betting handle exemplified a national trend

The sports calendar often dictates which months see the highest handle. Over the summer, Iowa saw a dip in sports betting, much like most states. Finally, in August, the handle increased for the first time since April.

But the four-month decline wasn’t something alarming to those in the industry. In August, PlayIA spoke with Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko. He noted that the summer lull wasn’t anything out of the ordinary and expected the handle to grow as fall sports picked up.

Ohorilko said:

“It’s very natural. In fact, the trend that we saw this calendar year was the exact same trend that we saw in 2021… I think, at least at this point, the market has been trending to a very similar fashion to what we saw in 2021.”

So far, that’s exactly what Iowa’s witnessed; a continual month-to-month increase in handle since the summer.

Much of that can be attributed to the return of football. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission does not keep track of betting data on specific sports, but Ohorilko noted that football drives the market.

For instance, in the 2022 Fiscal Year, Iowa’s highest months in terms of handle came from October 2021 to January 2022. Every month in that span saw a handle of more than $266 million. In January 2022, Iowa’s sports betting handle climbed to $303.3 million.

Even if the handle numbers aren’t as high as they were in 2021, it’s safe to expect a similar month-to-month jump as the calendar year continues.

Photo by Joshua Bessex / AP
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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