Iowa sports betting has fallen short of initial expectations after a full year of legalized betting in the state. However, it does not mean the first year was a failure, as the duration witnessed over $400 million in wagers.
Still, the critics argue they hoped for far better figures. Yet, it was an extraordinary duration, particularly in the last six months. So, much of the last year was defined and shaped by the pandemic that stalled all economic activities. So, 2020 has not been like any other sports year for any league.
The Industry Kicked-off in High Spirit
Last August, when the industry was legalized, it kicked off in the high spirit. There was excitement all-around as all the casinos in Iowa were open and inviting people for a wonderful legalized gambling experience. The enthusiasm of 2019 could not stay for long after the initial few months in 2020.
The optimism earned during the second half of the year 2019 gave way to the gloom of the coronavirus in 2020.
In March 2020, 19 casinos in Iowa had to shut down for 11 weeks. Also, there were rarely any live sports taking place during that phase. So, what started off as a boom reduced into a gloom.
Due to multiple factors, the Iowa casinos reported a dip in net proceeds by 20 percent, making it the lowest revenue totals since 2006.
If we talk about the actual attendance levels in the casino establishments, they were reported lowest in almost 25 years.
Despite all this, it is still impossible to analyze the first year of sports betting in Iowa as there are many unpredicted variables involved. So, it is also unjustified to call it a bad maiden year of legalized sports betting in Iowa.
Furthermore, it is equally tricky to predict future revenue as it is not possible to perceive how long the heath crisis will continue lingering on to affect the industry. Also, it is also not clear how residents are prioritizing their hobbies with their safety.
In other words, the revenues depend on the pandemic and the state response to it, and the priorities of the residents of Iowa.
How Things Were Before the Shutdown
Before the pandemic-led situation causes the state to shut down the non-essential businesses, the numbers were quite promising for the betting industry.
In fact, the industry was taking strides as Iowa was potentially on the path to generating $1.8 million in revenue.
Yet, some critics argue that the dismal first-year totals merely have to do with the fact that players need to visit a state-licensed casino to create a valid account.
Once it is done, residents can use the online betting and smartphone apps for those particular casinos. However, the major problem is that not many people would like to make a trip to a casino. Those who bothered to drive all the way to the places, they found them shuttered.
All people interested in sports betting will be keen to expect if the industry can rebound as many experts project it will, by 2021.