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Iowa is only the 33rd most populated state in the U.S. but for the second consecutive month its sports betting market generated a record handle, that’s according to a recent revenue report published by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
In sports betting, the ‘handle’ is the amount of money in wagers accepted over a specific period of time, and in October Iowa sports bettors wagered $280.9 million making it the largest handle generated there so far.
This beats the record-breaking September that Iowa had in which Hawkeye State gamblers wagered $210.4 million, both high marks indicators of how popular sports betting has become, not just to Iowans and Americans, but to sports fans worldwide.
Iowa lawmakers had grown tired of watching residents make wagers using either risky offshore sportsbooks or by traveling to neighboring states where sports betting had already been made legal, so they became one of the first states to legalize the activity back in 2019.
With that successful October, Iowa has now become the eighth state to clear $2 billion in cumulative sports betting handle during the post-PASPA era, and Iowa sportsbooks are set to continue their growth.
Right now Iowa is home to about two dozen land-based casinos and seventeen active sportsbooks are operating there, but in October three of those sportsbooks stood out as the large earners over that time period.
The top three Iowa sportsbooks in October 2021 were:
With these numbers added to Iowa’s cumulative handle, the state makes its way onto the Top 10 list of sports betting handle by state in 2021, as noted in this recent Tweet by Chris Altruda:
Top 10 #SportsBetting Handle by state, 2021 YTD (Oct in CAPS):
1 #NewJersey: $7.14B
2 #Nevada: $4.95B
3 #Pennsylvania: $4.24B
4 #Illinois: $4.02B* (August)
5 #Michigan: $2.453B
6 #Indiana: $2.441B
7 #Colorado: $2.419B
8 #Virginia: $1.965B
9 #Tennessee: $1.65B
10 #IOWA: $1.488B
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) November 5, 2021
Much of this increased handle can be attributed to a move that Iowa lawmakers made back in January.
When sports betting was first legalized in Iowa, by law bettors were required to register in person with a sportsbook, meaning they had to show up on site to sign up to begin wagering either online or at a retail location.
But on Jan. 1, 2021, that requirement was lifted and ever since sports betting has grown exponentially in Iowa, which is an incredible feat given that it is a state that has no major professional sports teams.
89% of the sports betting handle in October was fueled by online gambling due to the ease and convenience of making mobile wagers, but in person betting numbers should begin to grow once the dangers of the pandemic begin to fade.
Like over half of the states in the U.S., Iowa is beginning to reap the financial and employment rewards of having a legal, regulated, and taxed sports betting market and most likely the remaining states might not take too much longer to do the same.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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