Iowa sports betting market begins to recover in May

Iowa’s sports betting industry is starting to recover following the shutdown of sports and closure of casino due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the latest figures from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, Iowans wagered just under $7m on sports, a significant increase on the all-time low of $1.6m wagered the month prior in April.

Bettors in the state won back $6.5m of the bets placed, leaving the state’s sportsbook with a combined revenue of $501,062. May’s revenue was a significant increase on the $250,331 generated in April.

As the state’s land-based casinos were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, all bets in the state were placed via online and mobile sportsbooks. Although the figures represent a significant month-on-month improvement in May, it is important to note that there was still a lack of major sports to bet on due to the pandemic.

As there were no new in-person bets placed in May, due to the casino closures, the only land-based betting activity came in the form of bets placed before the shutdown. According to the figures, the only in-person bet recorded for the month was a $20 bet placed at Penn National’s Ameristar casinos.

The state’s casinos began to reopen on 1 June with Elite Resorts reopening all its properties in the state. Other operators are taking a slower approach to reopen their venues in the state.

Breaking down the figures

When breaking down the state’s performance by venue, six operators in the state without an online presence, took no bets in May.

Of the operators in the state with online betting platforms, Prairie Meadows, which is partnered with William Hill continued to lead the market. Bettors wagered $2.7m via the sports betting app, up from the $869,008 wagered in April. Players won back $2.4m leaving the operator with $250,708 in revenue.

Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, which is also partnered with William Hill, came in second place with a betting handle of $971,193. Bettors won back $891,674, leaving the operator with $79,518 in sports betting revenue.

Wild Rose Jefferson, the operator partnered with DraftKings, came in third place in May after generating $39,077 in revenue from $800,786 in sports betting handle.

Elite Resorts’ Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, which offers an online sportsbook powered by Bet.Works, came in fourth place. Bettors wagered $747,403 with the sportsbook and won back $723,677, leaving the operator with $23,726 in revenue.

Sports betting in Iowa

Governor Kim Reynolds signed Iowa’s betting bill into law in May 2019. With just 94 days between the signing of the bill and the launch of sports betting in the Hawkeye State, Iowa’s timeline to launch sports betting was one of the quickest in the US.

From 1 January 2021, bettors will be able to register online sportsbook accounts remotely from anywhere within the state, eliminating the inconvenience of having to travel to a casino. This will is sure to be a positive development for both the state’s sportsbooks and consumers.

At the time of writing, Iowans can bet online with several sports betting brands including William Hill, Bet.Works and DraftKings.

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