Iowa Sportsbook Near Missouri Destroyed In February By Super Bowl Bettors

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It was a good month for bettors in Iowa as they dealt the retail sportsbooks a loss in February, including a more than $200,000 beating to one book in particular.

Additionally, the overall sports betting handle had a slight drop for the third straight month, according to the latest figures released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on Tuesday.

Iowa’s 18 casinos reported a combined retail loss of about $615,000, on a handle of just over $19.1 million last month, resulting in a negative hold of -3.21%. The overall handle for February was $56.9 million, which was 1.9% off January’s total of slightly more than $58 million.

The decrease in overall handle has not been dramatic, but more of a gradual slide since an all-time high $59.3 million was recorded in November. The retail handle, however, took a dramatic plunge of nearly 21% down to $19.1 million, compared to January’s figure of slightly less than $24.2 million.

Iowa has cleared $300 million in cumulative handle since sports betting went live in August.

The sportsbooks have cleared more than $750,000 in net winnings as Iowa bettors have held their own over the past four months — November’s 6.07% hold is the highest recorded percentage in that span.

Chiefs’ victory looks to be Lakeside Casino’s loss

Only six of the state’s 18 retail sportsbooks were in the black in February, with the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Super Bowl LIV over the San Francisco 49ers appearing to play a key role in bettors coming out winners. Nowhere was that more apparent than Lakeside Hotel and Casino in Osceola, which is approximately 150 miles north of Kansas City in Missouri, where sports betting is not available.

Lakeside had a staggering -65.49% hold as it paid out more than $560,000 in winnings while taking in slightly more than $340,000 in bets, per state figures.

Ameristar Casino and Horseshoe Casino, both in Council Bluffs, also posted net payouts to bettors exceeding six figures, while Prairie Meadows and Harrah’s in Council Bluffs each paid out about $90,000 more in winning tickets than wagers accepted.

Of the six sportsbooks to come out ahead in February, only Diamond Jo in Worth reached six figures, posting a 7.82% hold on a retail handle of $3.32 million ($259,859).

DraftKings helps mobile handle clear 60% of total handle

DraftKings became the sixth mobile skin to enter the Iowa sports wagering market in mid-February, giving bettors 13 mobile options overall. As a result, the mobile portion of the overall handle cleared 60% for the first time since going live last summer. Iowa continues to require in-person registration before being able to use a mobile app, a provision that will sunset Jan. 1.

DraftKings, which was available at Wild Rose Casino’s three locations in Clinton, Emmetsburg, and Jefferson, had a combined mobile handle of slightly more than $510,000 after going live Feb. 19. Overall, the mobile handle reached an all-time high of just under $37.8 million, which was nearly two-thirds of the overall handle. Prairie Meadows again accounted for the bulk of the mobile handle through its William Hill Sportsbook, clearing $20 million for the first time in Iowa.

William Hill also retained a dominant market share of the mobile handle, with its other three books at Lakeside and the Isle Casinos at Waterloo and Bettendorf combining with Prairie Meadows to account for just over 75% of the mobile handle.

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Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has been a sportswriter with ESPN, The Associated Press, and STATS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest.

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