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Legal Sports Betting Optimism Fueled By Oregon and Iowa September Numbers

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Oregon Ducks fans cheer during a game. Tom Hauck/Getty Images/AFP

The US legal sports betting industry has patiently been waiting for the fall and the start of football season for the inevitable spike in wagering activity that it brings. Well, the states of Oregon and Iowa, the first two to report their September sports betting hauls are proof that the wait may have been worth it.

Both Oregon and Iowa are reporting double-digit month-to-month spikes in betting activity at their state’s sportsbooks with more likely to come as we head deeper into football season. Pigskin has been an obvious boon for the industry – their influence on the market actually started in August but really made an impact in September as Oregon and Iowa have shown.

A Peek Into the Oregon Scene

We can always count on Oregon to give us a decent indication as to where the entirety of the US market will land month-to-month. The state is always the first to report their monthly sports betting numbers and despite being one of the smallest jurisdictions in the country, they are usually in line with the trends across the nation.

Oregon sportsbooks are reporting a 41.8% month-to-month increase in betting activity at the state’s sportsbooks. They took in $25.1 million in September, up nearly $7.5 million from the $17.7 million in August. While a decent spike, September 2021’s numbers are still 4.2% less than the $26.2 million reported in the state in September 2020.

Revenues for Oregon’s sportsbooks also saw a nice increase. The state’s sportsbooks reported $1.3 million in profits from September’s haul, which is an 18.5% increase from the $1.1 million the state’s sportsbooks made in August. September 2020’s profits were still better – $1.5 million was made by the state’s sportsbooks last September, 17.5% more than this year.

Unsurprisingly, it was football that drove the major spike in overall handle for Oregon sportsbooks. Football was responsible for $9.7 million of the overall $25.1 million spent at sportsbooks in the state. Baseball was next with $6.8 million, soccer contributed $3.3 million, tennis $1.5 million and basketball $1.2 million.

What About Iowa?

The Iowa legal sports betting scene continues to be one of the nicest stories in the entirety of the US legal sports betting scene. Despite ranking 33rd in terms of population in the US, Iowa’s sports betting scene is a fixture in the top-10 highest grossing sports betting states.

September should be no different with their reported $210.1 million September sports betting handle which smashes the previous monthly March record haul of $161.4 million. It is a 95.1% month-to-month spike from August’s $108.4 million and 190.7% higher than the $72.4 million handle seen in the state in September 2020.

Unfortunately, revenues for Iowa’s sportsbooks didn’t follow the same path. Revenues actually showed a month-to-month drop of 13.5%, from $6.6 million in August to $5.7 million in September. The September 2021 revenue figure are better than September 2020’s however, when $5.2 million was made by Iowa sportsbooks.

State and local tax coffers benefitted to the tune of $512,951 in September which is a slight increase from the $486,608 in tax contributions form August and 47% better than September 2020’s $348,828 in contributions.

Optimism Going Forward

In the next few weeks, we will get to see the numbers out of some bigger US legal sports betting jurisdictions. Oregon and Iowa have set the tone for inevitable major spikes in betting activity in those states.

Football and the overall mainstreaming of the legal sports betting industry have been major factors to the overwhelming sense of optimism in the industry.

“Iowa will almost certainly triple the wagering compared with 2020 and could go even higher if a few things fall into place,” predicted Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com. “That is dramatic growth by any measure.”

So, after a slow summer sports betting season, things are about to ramp up in a big way for legal sports betting states. September is only the start of what could be a record-smashing time for wagering platforms across the country. Iowa has already obliterated their monthly handle record – others will likely follow suit if not in September, sometime before the end of 2021.