Iowa sports betting cooled off amid summer heat as it reported $114.88 million in May handle, representing the second straight month of decline.
According to the latest report released Thursday by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC), the 18 Iowa casinos that extend sports betting offerings combined for the total handle, which was down 2.9% from April’s $118.36 million.
The Hawkeye State’s sports betting industry has seen a free fall since March, which reported $161.44 million in handle, the highest for the state in a month.
Though May included Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis 500, Grand Slam tennis, and golf’s second major, it was far from the craziness of March Madness – the biggest sporting event of the year.
The same trend of lower handles is expected in the coming months, according to an official.
The casinos reported $6.13 million in sports betting net receipts, down nearly 20.6% from $7.73 million generated a month prior. The revenue figure suggests a hold of 5.3% in May, compared to 6.5% in April.
The state generated $414,175 in taxes for May, compared to $521,455 a month before, according to the report.
IRGC administrator Biran Ohoriilko noted the 2021 revenue figures will be a better benchmark for the sports betting industry next year. In May 2020, the Iowa sportsbooks had reported $6.98 million in handle amid the peak of the summer and the pandemic.
Online Handle Dominates as Usual
As expected, Iowa mobile sports betting – which accounted for 87% of total handle – completely eclipsed retail sports betting. In May, almost $100 million was wagered online in Iowa, representing a 4.4% dip from April’s $104.5 million.
Iowa had ended the in-person registration requirement in January, which brought $149.5 million in handle. It was the state record for highest sports betting handle for any single month until it was eclipsed by March handle.
William Hill-Affiliated Casinos Lead
Iowa sports betting handle report for May includes totals from the casinos. The Hawkeye casinos can have three digital skins, which means it is harder to define a sportsbook leader in the state.
However, the May total suggests William Hill-affiliated venues outshone those affiliated with DraftKings and BetRivers.
- William Hill: $37.56 million
- DraftKings/BetRivers: $33.79 million
- FanDuel/BetMGM: $27.61 million
DraftKings and BetRivers both operate under the Wild Rose casinos’ licenses in the state, while FanDuel and BetMGM function under the Diamond Jo casinos’ licenses.
Future of Iowa Sports Betting
Ohorilko predicts lower handles from Iowa sports betting in the coming months. At least he doesn’t believe anything near January, February, or even March handles. He said, though summer has been historically low for sports betting, the Olympic events could have some impact. But it remains to be seen.
Iowa expects the arrival of more sportsbooks by the end of the summer. NFL kickoffs will be crucial as it would be the first time Iowa will have both remote registration and fully realized seasons on the gridiron.
Iowa sports betting launched in Aug. 2019, but customers had to visit physical casinos to register at first. On Jan. 1, 2021, Hawkeye State allowed new customers to register and bet online through a mobile device.
Since March 10, Iowa casinos are legally authorized to add a third mobile skin.