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Iowa’s Impressive October Sports Betting Numbers

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Legal sports betting has been booming during the early days in Iowa. Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images/AFP

Legal sports betting has been taking off in Iowa, with the MLB playoffs and NFL pushing the state to new highs in October.

It’s been a terrific couple of months for Iowa’s legal sports betting scene. Not only has the market been able to add such provider heavyweights as Fubo Gaming and Barstool Sportsbook, but betting activity has spiked dramatically since the beginning of the fall and the start of the NFL season.

Analysts thought a record $210.4 million handle in September was impressive. Then came October.

Iowa bettors were able to continue the fall momentum for the state’s legal sports betting. The return of football to wagering menus in the state is just what the doctor ordered after a disappointing summer when Iowa’s industry hit its low point. October set yet another handle record, leading to a sense of optimism that Iowa’s legal sports betting may not have hit its peak just yet.

Iowa’s October Totals

Retail and mobile betting in Iowa combined to produce a $280.9 million handle in October, an $81.9 million (or 33.5 percent) increase over the previous record of $210.4 million set in September. That total also represents an enormous year-over-year 243 percent spike compared to October 2020. Online betting was responsible for 89 percent of the total, or $249.9 million.

The average jumped to $9.1 million per day spent with Iowa sportsbooks throughout October.

Revenues from legal sports betting in Iowa also climbed, but not quite as impressively as the handle. The state’s sportsbooks made $6.6 million, which is 14.7 percent more than September’s $5.7 million, but 27.8 percent lower than the $9.1 million in profits during October 2020.

Tax contributions from Iowa’s legal sports betting industry came in at $514,642, just 0.3 percent higher than the $512,951 in September.

The Perfect Storm

Five full weekends of NFL action boosted Iowa’s legal sports betting in October. Baseball playoffs and the start of both the NBA and NHL seasons also contributed to overflowing options for Iowa bettors.

Some new, high-end providers in the market provided a spark too.

“Iowa has made a significant leap forward in maturation as more operators launch and Iowans begin to feel more comfortable with online sports betting,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com. “A maturing market and busy sports calendar proved to be a powerful combination.”

Where it Leaves Iowa With Two Months Left in 2021

Iowa’s legal sports betting industry might be one of the nation’s most impressive because there isn’t a professional sports team in the state, and Iowa’s population ranks 31st in the country (about 3.7 million).

The state has generated more betting activity over the last three months ($559.8 million) than in all of 2020 ($575.2 million), and Iowa’s lifetime betting handle now stands at $2.3 billion.

While not quite at the level of the heavyweight states, Iowa sets the bar every month for what we can expect to see from the broader U.S. scene. If Iowa’s October numbers are any indication, it’ll be a good month for legal sports betting jurisdictions. Strap in for some eye-popping numbers as the U.S. sports wagering gold rush continues.