Iowa December Sports Betting Handle Tops $100M for 1st Time

Iowa December Sports Betting Handle Tops $100M for 1st Time
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Bettors in Iowa pushed that state’s sports wagering and online sports betting handles to new highs in December with the state topping $100 million in total handle for the first time.

The total sports wagering handle in December was $104.8 million, about a 20.2% jump from the previous month when the handle was $87.17 million. It was the fourth straight month that Iowa set a handle record for sports wagering.

The bulk of December’s handle came from online wagers as the mobile betting handle was about $78.07 million, which represented about 74.5% of the total, according to figures from the Iowa Racing Gaming Commission. The December online handle also set a record, topping by 25.1% November’s $62.41 million.

The records should continue to grow as in-person registration in Iowa ended on Jan. 1 and new online sportsbook apps entered the market. William Hill, BetMGM, BetRivers and PointsBet were among new apps to go live after remote registration was allowed.

For all of 2020, total sports wagering handle in Iowa was $575.24 million and revenue was $41.61 million. The annual figures indicated a 7.23% hold for bookmakers.

With Iowa starting sports wagering in August 2019 and with the industry evolving there, the year-over-year gross dollar and percentage increases were far steeper. The December 2020 handle bested December 2019 ($59.29 million) by 76.9%. And the December 2020 online handle was up 133.4% from December 2019 ($33.45 million).

Iowa Sports Betting Revenue & Handle, December vs. November

Total HandleMobile Handle Revenue
ChangeUp 20.2%Up 25.1%Down 7.5%

Revenue Falls in December

While handle was up, revenue was down in Iowa for December in a month-to-month comparison. December sports betting revenue was $7.54 million, down about 7.5% from November’s $8.14 million. In November, sports books generally around the country reported higher than normal jumps in hold because of favorable NFL outcomes for the house.

Still, the $7.54 million in December revenue implied a hold percentage for gambling operators of about 7.2%. In the year-over-year revenue comparison, there was an increase of 159.5% from December 2019 ($2.9 million).

Of the 18 Iowa casinos that allow sports bets, 17 have mobile sports betting.

The Top Iowa Sportsbooks

Prairie Meadows Casino’s near Des Moines and its William Hill Sportsbook had the highest bet total in December with $22.5 million, topping its November total of $19.2 million. Online betting for Prairie Meadows was 92.4% of total handle.

FanDuel continues to see increases from its Diamond Jo Worth and Dubuque sportsbooks. At Worth, total handle for December was $10.9 million, up from November’s $8.8 million. Dubuque was at $9.6 million in December, up significantly from the $6.6 million in November handle.

Wild Rose in Jefferson (DraftKings) saw an increase to $13 million in December handle after topping $10 million ($10.7 million) in November.

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