October 12, 2021 3 min read


Iowa’s Sportsbooks Are Back in Business with a Strong Showing in September

The return of major sports action this fall is proving beneficial to sportsbooks everywhere. Iowa has already started to see its sports betting industry come back to life, with the state’s sportsbooks reporting a combined handle of $210.4 million for September. That is a 94% increase over August, and is likely just the start of what should be a very productive end-of-year run.

Sports Bettors on the Offensive in Iowa

In August, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC), Iowa’s sportsbooks saw a handle of $108.4 million. That figure was respectable, but nowhere near what the state wants to see. Everything improved in September, though, allowing the books to set a new state monthly record. The previous record had been set this past January when they reported a combined $150 million in handle.

The reason for the increase is obvious. The NFL season kicked off at the beginning of September and MLB was close to its postseason run. The NBA and NHL were gearing up for their launches this month, with bettors starting to take advantage of early futures lines to maximize their return. With all four sports about to be in action, the bets are likely to continue to pile in, and Iowa might set a new sports handle record before 2021 is over.

Online Bets Still In Command

Not unsurprisingly, the mobile sports betting segment significantly outperformed its land-based counterpart. This is a trend that has been seen in almost all US sports betting markets and isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Of the $210.4 million handle, $186.5 million came through online sportsbooks, according to the IRGC, amounting to 88.6% of all bets placed. That was also $90 million more than what was seen in August. Iowa recently approved online sportsbook registrations, which is also helping the mobile segment expand.

Iowa bettors had a good month in September, as well. They took a little more than $185 million in payouts for the month through mobile wagers, while land-based sportsbooks paid out $19.6 million. $1.5 million was recorded in online net receipts and land-based net receipts totaled $4.2 million. Those results allowed Iowa to collect just under $513 million in tax revenue from sports betting for the month. However, the revenue was the lowest reported since exactly a year earlier.

Among the land-based casinos, the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo had the best month, taking $33.6 million in sports bets. Its online option proved the most valuable, as it saw $33.2 million of the handle. Next in line was Diamond Jo Dubuque with its $27.9 million handle. Third was Wild Rose Jefferson, which had a handle of $27.8 million. The bigger winner in the entire market, though, was Caesars Entertainment, which only has an online presence in the state. It took $66.5 million in September.


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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