Iowa Sportsbooks See $144 Million In Handle, Sets Per-Day Betting Record

Posted By Russ Mitchell on March 5, 2021

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers captured the Lombardi Trophy, but they weren’t the only winners on Super Bowl Sunday: Iowa sportsbooks followed January’s single-month betting record with about $144 million in handle in February.

Betting per day in the 28 days of the month averaged $5.1 million, which was up from the previous record of $4.8 million per day bet in the 31 days of January, according to Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission totals released Friday.

Credit the combination of the largest sports betting event of the year and Iowa’s decision to embrace online registration for the year’s second huge month-end numbers.

Of the $143.6 million reported Friday, Iowa sportsbooks collected an estimated $16.3 million in wagers on Super Bowl 55 alone. That was an increase of $9.8 million from the Super Bowl a year ago.

Iowa Gaming Association President and CEO Wes Ehrecke, who represents the 19 commercial casinos and 12 gaming companies in Iowa, said:

“We’re excited about that and seeing what the growth has been over the last several months. There’s going to be more sportsbook options. It’s really been great for the state — it’s been great for those who enjoy watching sports.”

Bettors placed 87.2% of wagers online as opposed to 12.8% with retail in February.

Another big month after Iowa betting handle record

The Friday report gave Iowa a $143.6 million spike compared to February 2020, when Iowa pulled in a mere $56.9 million handle.

Iowans and visitors to the state bet over $149.5 million just one month ago, according to the January Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission report. December 2020 was also a record at the time.

Ehrecke said:

“It’s about the number of available options, and just more marketing by the various sportsbooks to get people signed up.”

Iowa February 2021 sports betting numbers

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (6.75%)
Isle - WaterlooWilliam Hill$21,855,912$21,578,779$277,132$249,889$16,868
Diamond Jo - DubuqueFanDuel | BetMGM$21,361,021$20,844,497$516,525$988,499$66,724
Wild Rose - JeffersonDraftKings | BetRivers$18,995,203$18,817,644$177,559$852,712$57,558
Prairie MeadowsWilliam Hill$16,880,693$15,950,836$929,857$1,429,519$96,493
Diamond Jo - WorthFanDuel | BetMGM$11,706,781$7,524,401$4,182,380$686,300$46,325
Wild Rose - ClintonDraftKings | BetRivers$11,451,646$11,252,316$199,330$376,238$25,396
Wild Rose - EmmetsburgDraftKings | BetRivers$8,984,049$8,827,568$156,481$233,198$15,741
AmeristartheScore$5,322,019$851,877$4,470,142$746,303$50,375
Catfish BendPointsBet$5,230,845$4,972,935$257,910$613,251$41,394
HorseshoeWilliam Hill$4,828,801$2,581,038$2,247,763$377,226$25,463
Rhythm CityElite$3,035,290$2,492,169$543,121$139,403$9,410
LakesideWilliam Hill$3,031,566$2,240,081$791,485$378,168$25,526
RiversideElite$3,024,523$2,492,169$532,354$34,539$2,331
Isle - BettendorfWilliam Hill$2,557,530$2,195,180$362,349$263,313$17,774
Hard RockHard Rock$1,754,166$894,420$859,746$183,486$12,385
Grand FallsElite | Betfred$1,719,464$565,224$1,154,240$93,893$6,338
Q CasinoQ Sportsbook$1,026,027$465,202$560,825$(2,135)$0
Harrah'sWilliam Hill$849,634$672,111$177,523$64,347$4,343
Total$143,615,170$125,218,447$18,396,722$7,708,148$520,444

William Hill recaptures Iowa betting throne

DraftKings no longer clutches the market share scepter after taking the lead in Iowa a month ago. William Hill Sportsbook returned to the top spot, according to Friday’s state revenue numbers.

The state reports handles by location, but Iowa casinos that carry multiple sportsbooks don’t have to itemize by brand. That makes industry tracking more difficult in the Hawkeye State. Here’s what we know from the February totals:

  • William Hill: $50 million and 34.8% of handle in February
  • BetRivers/DraftKings: $39.4 million and 27.5% of handle in February*
  • FanDuel/BetMGM:  $33.1 and 23% of the handle in February

*BetRivers and DraftKings both operate under the Wild Rose casinos’ licenses in Iowa.

On-site registration gave William Hill Sportsbook and its six retail sportsbooks the advantage when sports betting became legal in Iowa in August 2019 and in-person registration was a requirement.

DraftKings, FanDuel remain strong in Iowa market

However, the 2021 sunset of that rule allowed DraftKings to be one of the leading operators in Iowa. The company’s co-founder, CEO and board chairman Jason Robins told investors how remote registration helped his company pull into the lead in Iowa in a Feb. 26 earnings report from Boston.

“On Jan. 1, 2021, DraftKings began mobile registration in Iowa … by 3 p.m. EST on Jan. 5, DraftKings registered more customers via mobile registration than through the entirety of 2020.”

FanDuel remains a strong national presence as well. The operator captured an estimated 23% of Iowa’s market share.

In an interview with PlayIA, Cory Fox, FanDuel’s VP of government affairs and product counsel, said:

“The Super Bowl was a tremendous opportunity to engage new users. And we saw a tremendous growth in first-time patterns in January. We saw even more than that in February — no doubt because of lots of folks who hadn’t quite gotten around to downloading the app and getting signed up. They went ahead and did it for the Super Bowl.”

More big betting numbers in February

Iowa sportsbooks held over $7,708,148. That’s a surge of 920.4% year over year, as well. In addition, the state also brought in a tax haul of nearly $520,444.

March could produce another big number, thanks to March Madness betting and interest in the top 5 Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team.

Photo by Jason Behnken / 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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