Smarkets, Affinity To Make Iowa Third State For SBK Sportsbook Launch

Written By Russ Mitchell on May 20, 2022 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
SBK Sportsbook to use Smarket odds

Look for Lakeside Hotel Casino in Osceola to add another sportsbook to its offerings soon. SBK Sportsbook on Thursday confirmed plans to make Iowa its third US market.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved the casino-sportsbook contract at its March 3 meeting in Osceola. Thursday’s joint announcement came from Affinity Interactive, which operates Lakeside and London-based Smarkets. That’s the company behind the SBK Sportsbook app.

The company wants to go live in Iowa “later this year.” Affinity Interactive CEO Mary Beth Higgins said:

“We are pleased to help Smarkets add SBK to another US marketplace, and look forward to welcoming them to Iowa.”

Bettors in Colorado and Indiana already have the SBK Sportsbook app. Smarkets founder and CEO Jason Trost has a personal connection to Iowa, however. He graduated from Northwestern University.

“The potential for SBK is huge in America, so adding our third licensed state is key as we move to our next stage of growth. It is particularly meaningful for me as my family is from Iowa. … I have always wanted the opportunity to launch there. I can’t wait for bettors in Iowa to enjoy SBK’s market-leading odds.”

SBK Sportsbook will use peer-to-peer odds for Iowa bets

Iowa customers will see odds set by the Smarkets betting exchange when they place wagers at SBK Sportsbook.

Betting exchanges can be complicated and it will produce plenty of alternative odds in Iowa. Essentially, bettors can set their own odds for an event. Or, they can find tempting odds from someone else as part of an exchange. Think of it as two friends or coworkers arguing about who will win a game — then putting money where their mouth is.

Typical sports betting, on the other hand, uses odds set by algorithms and sports gambling experts.

Smarkets says its platforms process “billions of dollars of traded volume each year.” The transactions then produce what the company calls “industry-disrupting odds.”

How many sportsbooks can Iowa handle?

Iowa code calls for an initial $45,000 licensing fee per casino to set up remote betting. And the state requires sportsbooks to have an Iowa casino partnership. The state’s 19 casinos can carry up to three distinct brands, called skins but they don’t have to pay an additional licensing fee for their second and third skins.

  • The state has 18 live sportsbooks. So, the licenses from launched companies have generated $810,000 so far for the state.
  • If the state’s casinos used all of their skins, bettors would have 57 different options. That would generate $2,565,000 in licensing fees.
  • Right now, the realistic number is closer to 30, based on approved casino licenses on file at the IRGC. That would generate $1.35 million in fees.

Gambling companies have their eye on the next frontier as well. Iowa hasn’t approved online casinos bets yet. That would require a change in Iowa Code, so it won’t resurface until at least 2023 .

Photo by Mick Atkins / Shutterstock
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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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