PointsBet Could Become The Big Fish In Iowa’s Little Pond

Posted on November 8, 2019

Despite the fact that Iowa legal sports betting is about to finish its third month, the market’s potential is still mostly unknown because online sportsbooks remain few and far between. That means there is an opportunity, however, and the news of a PointsBet Iowa mobile launch date means that opportunity might soon be seized.

PointsBet wants to launch its mobile sportsbook in the Hawkeye State before the calendar turns over to 2020. Depending on what the landscape looks like at that time, it might enable PointsBet to grab a significant share of the market.

Details on the PointsBet Iowa mobile launch date

While no specific date has been confirmed by PointsBet or the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, New Year’s Eve is a target date. PointsBet CEO Sam Swanell confirmed he wants his company accepting internet wagers before 2020 begins.

Of the 19 licensees in Iowa, only seven of them currently offer mobile betting. Despite the relative lack of online options and an in-person registration requirement, almost 57% of wagers placed during September were mobile.

When PointsBet launches in Iowa, it could be more than just another option. If all goes according to plan, it could become the premier option in the state.

Why PointsBet could become the big fish in Iowa

Because of their partnership with Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, PointsBet has a presence in the state. Some factors could enable that partnership to become the big fish.

PointsBet hasn’t been “catfishing” bettors in other markets, and that’s led to success. In New Jersey, the sportsbook has more than doubled its market share since February.

Combined with marketing utilizing celebrity athletes like Allen Iverson, brand awareness for PointsBet has grown across the nation. PointsBet could soon capitalize on those successful marketing efforts.

Although other national brands like DraftKings and FanDuel have a similar brick-and-mortar presence in Iowa, neither accepts mobile wagers in the state yet. The existing online operators don’t carry that kind of brand recognition.

Those two factors combined point toward strong potential for PointsBet in Iowa. The excitement should come with reservations though.

The ups and downs of the Iowa market for sportsbooks

The sports betting market in Iowa has three major criticisms. First, Iowa ranked 31st among all US states in population in the 2010 census.

Secondly, there are no franchises in the four most popular professional sports leagues in the state. The final criticism is the aforementioned requirement for bettors to register in person before they can place mobile wagers.

Burlington is far from Iowa’s most populous city, and the requirement to travel to the casino to register might act as a significant deterrent. The state does have a few things going for it, however.

The tax rate of 6.75% on handle is among the lowest in the country. Additionally, the state does have two major-conference NCAA athletic programs that are popular among its citizens.

Lastly, it’s among just a handful of states that allow online sports betting. For those reasons, PointsBet is interested in getting involved.

If other national brands like DraftKings and FanDuel continue to lag behind, as neither has announced any target dates for going live in Iowa, there exists a great opportunity for PointsBet. A head start could help PointsBet build up a loyal customer base of Hawkeye State residents and visitors before other heavy hitters join the market.

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Derek Helling

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