Iowa Sportsbooks Report Record-Breaking Handle For September, Surpass $1 Billion Mark For 2021

Written By Russ Mitchell on October 8, 2021

A September surge shattered March Madness to set a single-month record for sports betting in Iowa. For the first time in state history, sports wagers exceeded the $200 million mark, according to numbers released Friday by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC).

Specifically, bettors in Iowa placed $210,434,586 in September wagers. The previous high mark was $161,439,561 in March.

Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association, credited the start of the college and NFL seasons for the record numbers:

“I did not have that anticipated, but it seems like every month there have been different records broken along the way. This is a new benchmark, a new level that has been met, so we’ll see where it goes from here.”

September makes Iowa a $1 billion state

The full slate of college and NFL football games also helped push Iowa sports betting past the $1 billion mark for 2021.

So far, in 2021, bettors in Iowa have placed $1,198,392,703 in wagers.

September’s handle is a 94.1% increase from August, when the state reported $108,417,527 in sports betting.

The IRGC staff gathers and audits sports betting amounts each month from all 19 casinos in Iowa.

Iowa casinos reported $5,716,038 in sports wagering net receipts in September, a decrease of 15.5% from the $6,604,647 in August.

The state collected $512,951 in tax revenue for the month.

Here are the complete numbers from Iowa sportsbooks in September:

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleRevenueTaxes (6.75%)
Isle WaterlooCaesars$33,569,030$33,262,118$306,912-$103,781$0
Diamond Jo DubuqueFanDuel | Betway$27,898,432$26,954,699$943,733$1,986,911$134,116
Wild Rose JeffersonDraftKings | BetRivers$27,792,550$27,671,319$121,231-$724,395$0
Wild Rose ClintonDraftKings | BetRivers$24,937,626$24,746,861$190,765-$560,822$0
Prairie MeadowsCaesars$20,500,274$19,338,727$1,161,546$283,583$19,142
Diamond Jo WorthBetMGM$17,726,745$12,269,033$5,457,712$1,518,499$102,499
Wild Rose EmmetsburgDraftKings$14,904,448$14,723,603$180,845-$494,347$0
Ameristar Council BluffstheScore$8,338,491$2,323,563$6,014,928$1,190,481$80,357
Horseshoe Council BluffsCaesars$7,636,347$3,988,054$3,648,293$713,029$48,122
Catfish BendPointsBet$5,883,957$5,528,311$355,646$483,330$32,625
LakesideCaesars$4,652,663$4,127,737$524,926$171,134$11,552
Isle BettendorfCaesars$4,244,750$3,782,397$462,353$43,043$2,905
Harrah's Council BluffsCaesars | Unibet$2,825,627$2,522,472$303,156$113,342$7,651
Grand FallsBetfred | Bally Bet$2,701,301$1,374,834$1,326,467$457,926$30,910
RiversideElite$2,659,028$1,993,776$665,252$141,067$9,522
Hard RockHard Rock$2,068,690$1,054,623$1,014,067$210,207$14,189
Rhythm CityElite$1,171,898$629,301$542,597$154,017$10,396
Q CasinoQ Sportsbook$918,875$252,397$666,479$131,289$8,862
Casino Queen MarquetteFubo$3,857$220$3,637$1,524$103
Total$210,434,586$186,544,044$23,890,543$5,716,038$512,951

Iowa sports online betting numbers for September 2021

Caesars in Iowa held onto the lead with $66,505,369 in online handle, while FanDuel was the leader in revenue with $1,752,890. Most Iowa sports bettors are placing bets online, as internet betting accounted for 88.6% of August wagers.

Here’s how the books rank by total online sports betting handle in Iowa for the month of September:

  • Caesars: $66,505,369
  • DraftKings: $64,794,735
  • FanDuel: $26,954,699
  • BetMGM: $12,269,033
  • PointsBet: $5,528,311
  • Elite: $2,623,077
  • BetRivers: $2,347,048
  • theScore Bet: $2,323,563
  • Hard Rock: $1,054,623
  • Betfred: $966,503
  • Unibet $516,136
  • Bally Bet: $408,331
  • Q: $252,397
  • Fubo: $220

Football drove betting over the $1 billion mark

A year ago, the college football betting menu in Iowa only had a pair of Iowa State Cyclones games to bet on in September. Betting on the Hawkeyes wasn’t an option in September 2020 due to pandemic-shortened schedules.

Fast forward a year, and both programs have spent time inside the Associated Press Top 10. Iowa is currently No. 3 in the poll.

IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko said:

“There has been a lot of interest in the college football season and the professional football season. The excitement of both college football teams in Iowa has drawn some of the more casual fans.”

Ohorilko said his office is “starting to see some decline in advertising and marketing,” however.

“It’s still significant (spending) compared to last year at this time. We’re starting to see maybe some of those promotions and free-play opportunities decrease. That may be something that counters some of the (betting) interest that we’re seeing.”

Will new sportsbooks in Iowa grow the $1 billion pie?

Three new sports betting operators entered the Iowa market in late September and early October.

Fubo Sportsbook soft-launched to become the first sports betting partner for Casino Queen Marquette.

Betway Sportbook arrived at the start of October through a contract with Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque.

Circa Sports went live Thursday through a partnership with Wild Rose Jefferson.

Ohorilko knows more are on the way:

“Purely from a revenue standpoint, I think it’s reasonable to expect that with more operators, we should see additional handle, which is correlated to additional revenue. …

“Now with growth, it will also be interesting to see how the market settles. At some point, we may not see increases month over month. And, it’s important when you’re comparing numbers in sports betting to really look at the seasons because there are months that do better than others.”

The IRGC administrator expects the monthly handle to remain “relatively steady” this fall into winter:

“It will really be interesting to continue to watch how the numbers come in each month. But I think most of the operators expect the numbers to be steady and strong throughout the rest of the football season and into basketball season.”

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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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