Winter in Iowa has not been able to cool the strong numbers posted in the sports betting industry. The figures for November are in and they show a 27.5% increase over October from the state’s retail and mobile sportsbooks to a total handle of $59.3 million.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reported an increase at each of its 18 sportsbooks in November to bring the total handle in the state since sports betting legalization in mid-August to an impressive $153 million.
The news isn't all positive however – revenues in November dropped to $3.6 million from $5.7 million and the state's tax revenue dropped from $381,379 to $242,903 thanks to the amount paid out during the month. People are still betting, but in November they just seemed to be winning more!
It is no secret to what has been driving the sports gambling success in Iowa – its progressive online platform. Of the $153 million that Iowa has taken in since August, $85.1 million have come via mobile means with more of an uptick certain to come.
November alone saw a 30% increase in mobile bets from the previous month with the sportsbook at William Hill at Prairie Meadows leading the way, taking in $19.1 million in November. William Hill's Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, finished second in November with an online handle of $4.8 million.
At present, Iowa law requires bettors who want to take advantage of a mobile platform to register in-person at a participating sportsbook. With that law scheduled to be relaxed in January, 2020, there is a realistic chance that online betting receives yet another boost in revenues.
Stats have also shown that those travelling to place their sports wagers or register at brick-and-mortar facilities are staying in those casinos longer and taking their shot at the table games and slot machines there. Brian Ohorilko, administrator for the state Racing & Gaming Commission recently commented that: “Admissions are up almost 4 percent in the casinos and slot revenue is up, but we’re seeing a significant increase in table play — up about 7.5 percent.”
The bottom line is that more people are spending more money online and at casinos which has led to a tax revenue boon. The tax rate for sports betting in Iowa stands at 6.75% and based on the figures gathered from August 15 until the end of November, Iowa added just over $1 million to state and local coffers.
The sports wagering effect
Wes Ehrecke of the Iowa Gaming Association credits sports gambling with the spike in traffic and handle at the 18 licensed casinos in the state. He said: “It’s since August when this started launching that we’ve had some consecutive months that have had increased traffic and admissions and revenue. So you have to assume that sports wagering — the launch of that — has been a contributor.”
Ehrecke went on to say: “It’s certainly an additional entertainment amenity for those that enjoy watching sports and betting on sports,” he added. “It’s a real positive”.