Iowa’s Online Betting Handle Dips in February, but Still Breaks Daily Record

Iowa's Online Gambling Hold Dips in February,
but Still Sets Daily Record

Luka Graza

Luka Garza, Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

 

Iowa’s Online Gambling Biggest Day in February

Following a record in January’s earnings, sports betting handle in Iowa had shown mixed results in February. A report released by the IRGC (Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission) on Friday, March 5, showed that wagers for February at Iowa sportsbooks were $144 million. This generated revenues of $7.7 million, yielding the state $520,444 in tax. While February’s handle was lower than January’s $149.5 million, there are still very interesting, if not optimistic, aspects in February’s results.

Iowa Sports Betting Strong in January  

There is no doubt the year started on a great note for both sports bookmakers and the Iowa state. Immediately after Iowa removed in-person registration, the state recorded a surge in online sports betting. The month of January generated a record of $149.5 million in total wagers. The handle is so far the highest in the state’s history, as it garnered 11.34 million in taxes. And that’s just in one month.

February Sees a Decline but Record-Breaking Daily Figures

Even though February 2021 had a lower betting handle, which dropped from $149.5 million in January to $143.6 million, monthly reports by IRGC showed an increase in per-day wagers. February’s per-day wagers recorded an average of $5.1 million, an increase from January’s $4.8 million, which proves Iowans are flocking in droves to try their luck in legal US online gambling. It’s worth noting that, of the $143.6 million wagers collected in February, 16.3 million came from the Super Bowl alone. Without the country’s biggest sporting event in the world, the handle for February would’ve been worse, especially with the fact that the month three days less than January. Although February’s figure is a record-breaking value, it’s expected to be broken in the coming months. That’s because online gambling in the Hawkeye State is still in its early stages. President of Iowa Gaming Association, Wes Ehrecke, noted that “Iowa is going to have more sportsbook options. And that’s because the recent surge in online gambling has been great for the state.” At this stage, it is believed that Iowans are not widely familiar with online gambling. In the United States, unlike other parts of the world, mobile sports betting is still a new concept. So growth is expected as more potential punters in the state will learn about the legality and availability of sports betting in the state. “Iowa is like a case study on the effects of online gambling registration,” observed Jessica Welman, an online gambling analyst in Iowa. Without a doubt, most Iowan sports enthusiasts are still holding back. But they’ll start gambling on their favorite teams soon. This is reiterated by Dustin Gouker, an analyst with Catena Media, who believes that “whenever local teams are having a great season, such as Iowa and Drake, fans gain interest in wagering for the sports teams to win.”

In-Person Registration Requirement Removal Helps Iowa Sports Betting Figures

On January 1, 2021, the mandatory requirement to physically present yourself at the bookmaker’s premises to register for an online gambling opportunity became void. This allowed Iowans to register online for free and begin betting on their favorite teams. As expected, Iowa’s gambling industry grew seven-folds, and both the bookmakers and the local government reaped lots of revenues. The changes even prompted bookmakers who had initially hesitated to join the Iowan industry to enter the state. Some of these bookmakers include BetMGM and PointsBet, who were prompted to develop a sportsbook app within the shortest period. The likes of William Hill, DraftKings, and FanDuel were already in Iowa and had established their share in the market. Within the two months since January 1, 2021, overall sports betting in Iowa went up 152% as mobile sports betting increased by 231%. The best result though is the increased revenue in the state, which has gone up by 921%. Brian Ohorilko, an administrator of the (IRGC), attributed the growth to the removal of in-person registration. “This is due to the opening of online registration for Iowans to start gambling online,” he said. Remote registration has made it easier for Iowans to go through simple steps to create an account with one of the sports betting apps. If such a successful case study goes on without any mishaps, then it’s expected other states will follow suit and allow US online casino apps to operate smoothly. Apart from removing in-person registrations, other factors that contributed to growth in Iowa’s online gambling include increased marketing by the bookmakers. The sportsbooks offered high discounts for Iowans to register and wager for their favorite teams. The success of the bookmakers’ promotional tactics was evidenced during the Super Bowl, where US legal betting was made possible for the first time in Iowa and several other states.

The Leaders of the Iowa Sports Betting Pack

Despite several sportsbooks operating in the Iowa market, three leading players are influencing the overall wagers. Namely William Hill, FanDuel, and DraftKings. Other bookmakers include:
  • BetRivers
  • PointsBet
  • BetMGM
  • BetFred Sports
William Hill sportsbook in Iowa has partnered with Iowas’ local betting companies like Prairie Meadows and the Isle of Capri in Waterloo. It was first launched its Iowa sports betting app in 2019. In February, William Hill became the leading bookmaker in terms of wagers placed through the website and app. It was then followed by DraftKings and Wild Rose, respectively. The following are wagered placed in February with Iowa’s leading sports betting operators:
  • William Hill – $45.3 million
  • Wild Rose’s DraftKing – $38.9 million
  • FanDuel (partnering with BetMGM) – $33.2 million
Retail betting generated $18.6 million in February, whereby Ameristar topped fellow retailers with about $4.5 million in wagers.

Iowa’s Operator Landscape

Brian Ohorilko notes that at present, Iowa has 11 licensed sportsbooks. The state also has 19 casinos, with 18 of them offering online gambling wagers. Back in December 2020, before the cancellation of the in-person registration, Ohorilko had predicted most mobile sportsbook companies would be working together while casinos would be looking to invest in partnerships with already established sports bookies. This is precisely what the local casino owners were fighting for, to have the opportunity to add up branches of their gambling options also to have sports betting odds. The Administrative Rules Review Committee allowed casinos in Iowa to have a third sports-betting skin as of March 10.

Legal Sports Betting in the US

For Iowans, the process of registration for online gambling is simple and only takes minutes to complete. You do not have to be an Iowa resident. As long as you are over 21 and within state limits, betting is safe, fun, and 100% legal from any computer or mobile device. What’s needed to register and gamble online in Iowa? Well, there isn’t much that’s required of you. Just make sure you have the following documents with you when registering for Iowa online sports betting.
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Legal name
  • Mailing address
  • Last four digits of SSN (Social Security Number)
So what are you waiting for? Choose one of Iowa’s top sportsbooks, register, and you can be gambling in minutes. And don’t forget to claim a generous welcome bonus!
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