Iowa sports betting saw its largest single month-to-month drop in April from the record-setting handle in March since the August 2019 launch. According to the figures released Friday by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the state’s sportsbooks took in $118.4 million in bets, representing a 26.7% decline from March’s $161.44 million.
However, the last month’s sports betting handle was still a 7,466% increase year-over-year. In April 2020, the Hawkeye State had reported $1,568,497 in sports betting handle amid pandemic-led shutdowns. Still, April handle was the lowest since $104.8 million was wagered in December 2020.
Ironically, the $43.1 million difference between March 2021 and April 2021 exceeded the $37.3 million plunge witnessed from last year’s February to March when the COVID-19 closed all the sports activity by mid-March.
The record free fall in the handle from March to April could be the March Madness as it was the first year the Iowans could legally wager on college basketball. NCAA tournament brought in record number for Iowa sports betting in March.
Sportsbook revenue reported nearly $7.7 million, representing a 42.6% decline from March’s record-setting $13.5 million. However, even with this slim figure, it helped achieve all-time operator revenue over the $100 million mark, (or $101.1 million to be exact) since Iowa sports betting launched in August 2019.
The hold percentage in April was 6.53% compared to 8.33% in March.
The state drew $521,455 in tax revenue for April. The first four months of 2021 have brought in more than $2.7 million compared to almost $2.9 million total for the calendar year of 2020.
Iowa Mobile Betting Remains Atop
Mobile sports betting in April accounted for over 88% of the total handle. It was $104.51 million, compared to $139.39 million recorded in March, and a whopping 6,563% increase from April 2020 ($1.57 million).
Since the state removed the in-person registration requirement on Jan. 1, the online handle has consistently crossed 80% of handle and topped $100 million in each of the first four months this year.
In addition, April’s mobile handle also pushed the all-time online handle over $1 billion.
Handle by Operators
All 18 casinos in the Hawkeye State now allow mobile sports betting. Ameristar II became the last to add the option this February.
In terms of mobile handle, Caesars-owned William Hill’s six casinos generated a combined total of almost $35.7 million, while Diamond Jo in Dubuque (partnered with FanDuel) reported the highest handle of $18.45 million for a single facility Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo took the second spot with $17.85 million as a single entity.
The three Wild Rose casino properties, which are operated by DraftKings and BetRivers, had almost $34.3 million in bets
Overall, five properties topped $10 million in the mobile handle.
However, retail betting continued to suffer as only three of the 18 sportsbooks crossed $1 million in in-person wagering. Ameristar Casino topped the retail handle with almost $3.7 million in handle.
What’s Next for Iowa Sports Betting?
It is interesting to see how Iowa sports betting trends unfold in the coming months with no football or college basketball. However, NBA and NHL playoffs are just around the corner, and with the ongoing MLB regular season, Iowans will continue to have betting options. Then there are other options such as golf, tennis, and auto racing events to keep them busy during summer.
With the college football return in September, Iowan bettors will return to full action by indulging in their most favorite sport. Three of the four in-state schools will kick off the season in Sep. 4.
In addition, Iowa bettors will have more sports betting options in the coming months as the state’s Administrative Rules Review Committee recently allowed casinos to add a third sports betting skin effective from March 10.