Iowa Sports Betting Figures Rebound in May As Sports Return

Iowa Sports Betting Figures Rebound in May As Sports Return
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The Iowa sports betting handle in May showed growth from the previous month as some sports returned and more betting opportunities presented themselves. The state should see a boost in June because casinos started reopening last week.

The May numbers — $6,976,637.22 in total sports betting handle and $501,062.16 in sports betting revenue — was entirely from existing users and mobile. Because of an in-person registration requirement, new bettors would have had to sign up at a casino. Casinos have been closed since mid-March.

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The May handle was a 345% increase over April’s $1,568,497, according to figures released by the Iowa Gaming Racing & Commission the revenue was a 233% increase over April’s $150,331.

But the numbers for May still pale to monthly numbers when casinos are open and there are numerous sports to bet on. For example, Iowa had nearly $57 million in sports betting handle in February. Just in half the month of March, Iowa posted $13,316,068 in mobile sports betting handle ($19.6 million total) and $1,171,164 in revenue.

UFC, NASCAR, overseas soccer and two huge charity PGA skins games made their returns in May. And more sports are on the way with the first PGA Tour event since the pandemic beginning this week and the NBA and NHL announcing plans to start training for a re-start of their seasons.

Iowa Sports Betting Revenue & Handle, May vs. April

ChangeUp 233.3%Up 344.8%Up 344.8%

Iowa Casinos Have Started Reopening

There are 19 Iowa commercial casinos, with 18 taking sports bets and 13 having mobile sports betting operations. They were shut down on March 17 by order of Gov. Kim Reynolds.

At least a dozen casinos began reopening on June 1, including two properties owned by Eldorado Resorts — Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. They reopened capacity limited to 50% to make sure state social-distancing guidelines were met.

Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson, Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Lyon County and Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama also reopened June 1. The Hard Rock Sioux City allowed guests on June 2 and the Lakeside Hotel Casino in Osceola reopened June 3.

The Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona reported $2,697,551.01 in sports betting handle and $250,708.30 in revenue to lead Iowa casinos in May. It has not reopened but announced on its website it plans to on June 15.

Still No eSports Betting in Iowa

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at its June 4 meeting rejected a request by the Iowa Gaming Association to allow casino betting on eSports, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

The commission did approve a request by DraftKings to allow Daily Fantasy eSports games. DraftKings runs three sportsbooks at the Clinton, Jefferson and Emmetsburg casinos. DraftKings and FanDuel began Daily Fantasy Sports platforms in Iowa in October and November, respectively.

Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission, told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier on May 10 that sports wagering in Iowa must involve physical sporting events, “and so esports had not been something that was approved.”

Even though casinos have reopened and more sports have returned, Iowa law requires in-person registration to be in effect until Jan. 1, 2021. New Jersey sportsbooks and their Pennsylvania counterparts saw solid revenue from mobile sports betting in recent months because they do not have in-person registration regulations.