According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) report released Thursday, the state’s sportsbooks took an unprecedented $161.4 million in bets, up 12.4% from $144 million in February, and an unbelievable rise of nearly 725% from March 2020s $19.6 million. The March handle also beats Iowa’s previous record of $149.5 million posted in January after the Hawkeye State ended in-person registration requirements for new bettors on January 1. It is the sixth time in the last seven months Iowa has posted a monthly handle record.
In March, total sports betting revenue also saw a record number of $13.5 million, outshining the previous record of $11.3 million set in January. March revenue is 74.5% from February’s $7.7 million, and a whopping increase of almost 947% in the year-over-year comparison. From this, Iowa drew $908,009 in state taxes for the month up from February’s $520,444, yet again another record for the state since sports betting launched in August 2019.
March, A Rebounding Month
The IRGC does not break down handle and revenue by sport, but March Madness helped swell Iowa’s sports betting handle for the month. It was a rebound not only for the state but for nearly the entire US sports betting industry, which was clouded briefly by a short and less eventful month of February. Most legal sports betting states – including New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – saw their monthly handles free falling in February, but, as expected, March brought back the rising trends.
These rising trends are nothing new for Iowa though, which has posted monthly handles in six out of the last seven months. It will be interesting to see how the industry unfolds with no NFL or college basketball anymore. The Masters, which started Thursday, would be available as one of the signature golf events of the year. MLB is also fully operational, and some NBA still remains for Hoops fans. However, sports betting is likely to continue growing in Iowa, particularly after the state’s casinos can add a third online skin effective March 10 following the amendment approved by the Administrative Rules Review Committee.
Iowa Online Betting Also Another Record
Particularly, Iowa has seen tremendous growth since the availability of remote registration. The Hawkeye State has attracted nearly $385 million worth of digital bets during the first quarter of this year, which is almost double the $197 million wagered in the fourth quarter of 2020. All 18 casinos in the state with sportsbooks now extend mobile betting options. Ameristar II, the only casino with no mobile sports betting, included the option in February.
William Hill retained its leading position in Iowa sports betting, whose 31% of total online bets came through the Caesars-owned company. William Hill took in $43.7 million in total digital bets from its six casino partners in the Hawkeye State. DraftKings and BetRivers extracted a combined total of $43.7 million through their partnerships with three Wild Rose casinos. FanDuel and BetMGM, the combined skin partners of Diamond Jo casino, amassed $37.6 million in the online handle. Diamond Jo- Dubuque led the state by taking almost $29 million in bets, including $28.1 online, and churning out $1.9 million in revenue.
In addition to the monthly handle, revenue, and state taxes, Iowa set another record by placing most digital bets in March. In March, 86.3% of the overall handle was wagered online. A record online sports betting handle of $139.4 million reflected 11.3% from February’s $125.2 million and up 947% from March 2020 when Iowan bettors wagered just $13.3 million through digital sources.