Iowa Sports Betting Handle Down In March, But Revenue Rises

Iowa Sports Betting Handle Down In March, But Revenue Rises
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Like other states that have reported March sports betting figures, Iowa saw a decline in total sports wagering for the month. But Iowa saw increased revenue from sports betting according to the state's official figures.

The sports betting handle of $19,576,985 in March was a decline of 65.6% from the $56.9 million posted in February, an expected drop after sporting events shut down as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic. The good news in Iowa was that sports betting revenue of $1,171,164 in March was up 55% from February’s $755,334 despite casinos being closed about half of March.

RELATED: More On Iowa Sports Betting & Gaming

And Iowa’s mobile numbers, according to Iowa Gaming Commission, continued to be strong with $13,316,068 of the handle bet on mobile — or 68%, which is slightly more than the percentage bet on mobile in February.

Iowa Sports Betting Handle, March vs. February

ChangeDown 67.3%Down 64.8%Down 65.6%

Casinos In Iowa Have Been Shuttered

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds closed the state's commercial casinos in mid-March and they were shut down March 17-30. Her order, which has been extended twice, will keep them closed through at least the end of April to help stem the spread of COVID-19. With all commercial casinos closed and pro sports leagues in the U.S. on hold — most since mid-March — analysts expected March revenue numbers to be down in all states and April numbers to be even worse.

March’s online handle was less than half of February's online handle of $37.7 million, the highest single-month online handle figure the state has seen, which was 66% of the total handle. The mobile number likely could be higher in any month, but online bettors in Iowa have to register in-person at a retail sportsbook before they can bet online. That law expires on Jan. 1, 2021, but the state will not be realizing its full mobile potential the rest of the year because of that requirement.

Mobile betting leaders in the U.S. market, such as New Jersey sportsbooks and their Pennsylvania counterparts, do not have the unwieldy registration requirement. Those states have seen more than 85% of the action come from their growing mobile betting markets.

A fellow Midwest state that reported its March numbers last week, Indiana, saw its sports betting handle fall 60% from February’s $187.2 million, according the Indiana Gaming Commission. Mobile numbers were strong for Indiana, with the mobile and online betting at top Indiana sportsbooks accounting for 81.3% of March’s handle.

Prairie Meadows In Des Moines Is Top Casino

Prairie Meadows in Des Moines, which partners with with bookmaker William Hill, led all casinos in Iowa with $6,830,707 in total handle and saw $6,218,645 of it bet through the online sportsbook. That’s 91% of the total coming from online.

Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo saw $1,699,889 in total handle with $1,559,390 online, which is almost 92% of the total. Riverside Casino and Golf Resort followed at $1,607,572 in total handle, almost 95% bet online.

In addition to not having the registration requirement, some states have other online gaming options besides sports betting. Online casino gaming is legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Online poker sites are legal in those states plus Nevada. West Virginia and Michigan have legalized online casinos with launch dates scheduled for later this year.

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