Iowa Sees Another Small Decline In Total Sports Wagers, But Increase In Revenue

Written By Russ Mitchell on July 9, 2021
iowa sports betting revenue june 2021

It’s been a steady summer for sports betting so far. Numbers released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on Thursday suggest the state collected $111,176,671 in wagering handle for the month of June.

Two bordering MLB teams — the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers — have healthy leads in their divisions going into the All-Star break. The Tokyo Olympic events are two weeks away and football’s return is just around the corner.

Iowa Gaming Association president and CEO Wes Ehrecke correctly expected June to extend Iowa’s streak of $110 million in total wagers.

“There has certainly has been NBA Playoffs going on. And there’s been the Stanley Cup, there’s been racing —NASCAR — there’s been golf. I think golf has become more popular, so I’m optimistic that those various sports can make up for college basketball and football. It was pretty robust a couple of months ago.”

June’s handle was down about 3.2% from the nearly $115 million in May. March 2021 remains to be the state’s best month ever with $161.4 million in handle.

Ehrecke noted, Iowans got their first chance to place March Madness bets in 2021:

“We didn’t have that last year, because everything was shut down. There’s so many comparisons that weren’t available then that are (available) now. We’ve had several $100 million-plus handle months.”

Iowa sports betting numbers for June 2021

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (6.75%)
Prairie MeadowsWilliam Hill$19,533,078$19,004,896$528,182$648,832$43,796
Diamond Jo - DubuqueFanDuel$15,262,424$14,612,122$650,302$1,329,309$89,728
Wild Rose - JeffersonDraftKings | BetRivers$14,605,948$14,543,141$62,807$1,174,943$79,309
Diamond Jo - WorthBetMGM$11,366,387$8,034,747$3,331,640$1,261,613$85,159
Isle - WaterlooWilliam Hill$9,476,215$9,254,406$221,809$360,365$24,325
Wild Rose - ClintonDraftKings | BetRivers$9,404,044$9,280,154$123,890$720,442$48,630
Wild Rose - EmmetsburgDraftKings$7,538,448$7,475,242$63,206$649,428$43,836
AmeristartheScore Bet$6,432,674$1,572,608$4,860,066$578,113$39,023
Catfish BendPointsBet$3,503,673$3,262,759$240,914$350,849$23,682
HorseshoeWilliam Hill$3,393,472$1,359,521$2,033,951$362,502$24,469
Rhythm CityElite$2,018,184$1,074,970$943,214$162,385$10,961
Isle - BettendorfWilliam Hill$1,989,820$1,699,035$290,785$184,921$12,482
LakesideWilliam Hill$1,402,662$1,276,456$126,206$146,060$9,859
Grand FallsBetfred | Bally Bet$1,213,003$443,895$769,108$162,558$10,973
Hard RockHard Rock$1,142,257$409,959$732,298$113,621$7,669
Harrah'sWilliam Hill$854,396$592,737$261,659$72,821$4,915
Q CasinoQ Sportsbook$505,953$159,309$346,644$71,042$4,630

Bettors in Iowa placed 85.6% of their sports wagering dollars online or through mobile devices.

Each sports wagering report becomes a new benchmark for that month.

Sports betting in Iowa wasn’t legal until Aug. 15, 2019. And for the first 18 months, Iowans had to register for an online sports betting account at the casino. It also didn’t help that the pandemic sapped the sports betting calendar.

So, betting didn’t start to become easier until the start of 2021. Ehrecke saw a spike in engagement when remote registration arrived:

“The college and the professional football playoffs were coming together, leading into the Super Bowl. So I believe that that’s going to continue to be robust, starting this fall again. … Now there’s more options, more skins, if you will. Many of the casinos have at least two that people can choose from. And people are more savvy to having more options, I think this is really been a positive for them to kind of shop around a bit. The odds can and will change throughout the week.”

For June 2021, the casinos reported $8,424,699 in sports wagering net receipts, an increase from the $6,133,477 in May. So, even though less money was wagered (the “handle”) from May to June, Iowa sportsbooks were on the right side of the odds more often.

The state collected $568,502 in taxes for the month.

Caesars has the largest retail footprint in the state, with six casinos. With William Hill under its umbrella, the sportsbook initially captured the most account registrations.

William Hill leads in tight race

The IRGC received numbers from the 19 casinos in Iowa to compile Thursday’s monthly report.

However, since many of the casinos carry more than one sportsbook brand, or “skin,” it’s difficult to see how each book performs.

With that caveat, here’s what PlayIA knows from the June totals:

  • William Hill: $36,649,643 and 32.97% of handle
  • FanDuel/BetMGM$36,628,811 and 32.95% of the handle*
  • BetRivers/DraftKings$31,548,440 and 28.37% of handle**

*FanDuel and BetMGM sportsbooks operate under the Diamond Jo casinos’ licenses.

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

A new arrival also could shift market share down the road. Bally’s Interactive established its Iowa footprint through an agreement with Elite Casino Resorts. The Bally Bet Sportsbook app went live on June 29.

End of FY2021 for Iowa sports betting market

The state’s fiscal year began July 2020 and ended with the just-released June 2021 sports wagering totals.

Iowa passed the $1 billion mark and closed out the budget year with a $1,218,453,192 handle. Sports wagering net receipts totaled $89,966,887 and the state collected $6,072,764 in taxes from the sports bets.

Ehrecke said:

“Just getting to $1 billion total for a state of our size, and also having several months of $100 million or more in handle — I believe, we should all be pleased with that kind of involvement by our casinos, as well as by the patrons.”

The Iowa Gaming Association president thinks the Iowa Legislature will have the chance to consider additional wagers when the regular session reconvenes in January 2022.

Lawmakers didn’t move on efforts to approve esports wagering in the most recent session. Esports betting became a popular option in other states after the pandemic shut down many in-person competitions.

Ehrecke said:

“The NFL Draft —or professional sports team drafts — and player of the year awards, like the Heisman Trophy seem to be some popular requests.”

Photo by Matt Slocum / 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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