Iowa Surpassed $100M Mark in December Sports Betting

Iowa became the 8th month to surpass $100 million in wagers within a single month, after sportsbooks in the state generated bets to the amount of $104.8 million in December, the monthly sports wagering revenue report released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) revealed.

Third Growth Month in a Row

Sports wagering total in December marks the 3rd record-setting growth month in a row for the Hawkeye State and represents the highest month since the start of legal sports betting in 2019, Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the IRGC outlined, expressing his surprise that Iowa passed the $100 million threshold earlier than expected.

“This is our highest month since we started back in 2019, and it was the first time we surpassed $100 million in handle. I did anticipate that we would eventually get there, but I think this is maybe a bit earlier than I thought.”

Brian Ohorilko, Administrator, IRGC

Of the $104.8 million accepted in wagers, sportsbooks returned nearly $97.3 million to bettors as payouts, keeping $7.54 million as profits, registering an operator profit margin of 7.2%, well within industry long-term accepted range between 7% and 8%. 74.4% of all December wagers, or nearly $78.1 million, were placed online.

And factors such as the upcoming Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness, as well as the January 1, 2021 change in Iowa law to allow online betting without the requirement to register in person at one of the state licensed casinos, strongly suggest the sports betting market would only continue to grow.

For the fiscal-year-to-date (FYTD) started July 1, 2020, total wagers accounted for nearly $419.5 million, out of which bets amounting to $300 million were placed through online channels. The data revealed by the IRGC showed for the six months so far sports betting generated $2.37 million in state tax revenue.

Seventh in Size of Sports Betting Market

Regarding the calendar 2020, Iowa sports wagering registered $575.2 million of total bets with $405.2 million placed online, which accounted for $41.6 million in net receipts for the sportsbooks and $2.9 million for the state in tax revenue. The December handle placed Iowa seventh among legal sports betting jurisdictions.

According to the IRGC administrator, records set in December were due to increased marketing, as well as gains by 4 properties related to casinos in the state.

He further stated that since the in-person registry requirement is now gone, sports betting handle should stay above the $100 million threshold at least until April, when wagering activities wane following the end of the March Madness and the seasons end of pro sports leagues.

The law change effective from January 1, 2021, made the state very attractive to mobile sports betting operators, with already 9 apps being licensed by the IRGC and a 10th imminent. Earlier in the month, Australian-based PointsBet and MGM’s and Entain’s BetMGM rolled out dedicated sports betting apps in the state.

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