December was the first month since Iowa launched sports betting in August in which handle didn’t grow in a month-over-month comparison. There’s a reason why.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reported that the retail sportsbooks took $25.8 mm in wagers last month, with the online/mobile sportsbooks handling $33.4 mm, for a combined handle of $59.2 mm.
The books reported $2.9 mm in net sports wagering receipts after paying out $56.3 mm to bettors.
In November, Iowa saw $59.3 mm in total handle, its best month to date, comprised of $25.6 mm from retail and $33.6 mm from the internet. The books had a better November than they did last month, reporting $3.6 mm in net receipts.
Impact of in-person registration
Under Iowa sports betting law, you must visit a brick-and-mortar casino first in order to register for an online/mobile account. That’s not the most convenient situation for bettors, and it is limiting growth in Iowa. The rule expires in 2021.
In Indiana, which has remote online/mobile registration, the internet handle grew roughly 15% month-over-month in December to about $110.5 mm, and total state handle was up about 10%.
Indiana launched retail sports wagering in early September, followed by three online/mobile books in October. In Iowa, retail and online/mobile began together in mid-August. Ten of the casinos reported online/mobile handle in December.
A recent gaming industry survey found that more than a third of Iowa gamblers feel that the in-person registration process is somewhat or very inconvenient. Additionally, 13% said they would not drive to register their online sports betting account at a casino.
Internet handle by operator
William Hill accounted for about 75% of the online/mobile sports betting handle last month. The full breakdown:
- Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino: $17.6 mm (William Hill)
- Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo: $4.6 mm (William Hill)
- Riverside Casino and Golf Resort: $4.2 mm (Bet.Works)
- Isle of Capri Bettendorf: $2.1 mm (William Hill)
- Lakeside Casino: $1.3 mm (William Hill)
- Rhythm City Casino: $1.1 mm (Bet.Works)
- Q Casino: $913k (IGT)
- Catfish Bend Casino: $619k (PointsBet)
- Grand Falls Casino Resort: $503k (Bet.Works)
- Hard Rock Casino: $289k (Gaming Innovation Group)
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