Iowa Sports Betting Handle Rebounds To $12.7 Million In June


Aided by more betting offerings and the reopening of casinos across the state, the handle for sports betting in Iowa for the month of June ticked upward to $12.7 million, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

That handle is 82.2% higher than May’s handle of just under $7 million, which was exclusively online and mobile betting since casinos were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Kim Reynolds allowed casinos to reopen beginning June 1, and only the Catfish Bend Casino and Harrah’s in Council Bluffs kept their sportsbooks closed for the entire month.

The hold was a modest 4.88% overall as the 18 casinos offering sports betting across the Hawkeye State netted $620,740 in revenue for June. The state received $42,033 in tax revenue, which was 30.9% higher than May’s total of $32,111.

It has been a slow climb back for sports betting in Iowa, which had its handle plummet to $1.6 million in April when the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of almost all sporting events. Offerings including European soccer, Korean baseball, NASCAR, and the PGA Tour came online throughout June, expanding the betting menu for sports bettors.

Online betting accounts for bulk of handle

With casinos limited to 50% capacity, it is unsurprising that mobile and online sports betting accounted for an overwhelming percentage of June’s handle. The 13 casinos offering mobile and online spots betting generated a handle of nearly $11.6 million, which was 91.1% of the overall figure.

The online hold registered at 5.72%, compensating for the hold of -3.66% at retail sportsbooks, which paid out $41,321 more than the $1.13 million in handle generated for June. Diamond Jo Casino in Worth, which does not have mobile and online sports betting, took a particularly hard hit as it paid out $203,066 in winnings compared to taking in $157,397 in bets. Conversely, Rhythm City Casino produced a 13.95% hold on its overall handle of $377,541.

Though not a driver for retail sportsbooks since it did not reopen until June 15, Prairie Meadows dominated the internet sports betting market in Iowa, generating 38.7% of the handle with slightly less than $4.5 million. Prairie Meadows, Wild Rose in Jefferson, and Riverside Casino and Golf Resort were the only three online sportsbooks to clear $1 million in online handle for June, accounting for a combined 68% of the overall online sports betting action.

Iowa still requires in-person registration for mobile sports wagering, which has put a limit on the amount of potential bettors during the pandemic and gradual reopening of casinos. The good news for Hawkeye State casinos was June’s handle was just shy of the $13.3 million generated in March, when COVID-19 forced casinos to shutter midway through the month.

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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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