Iowa Sportsbooks Post Strong Numbers for First Month of Business

Licensed sportsbooks in Iowa enjoyed a solid first month of business posting a September handle close to $40 million, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

With just 15 of the 18 licensed casinos in the state taking bets, the early numbers are promising for a state that launched sports betting just six weeks prior to the end of September.

The 15 working sportsbooks in the state brought in 4,956,347 in total net revenue, a hold of 12.9%. The hold percentage is one of the big reasons that betting experts are impressed by Iowa’s early sports betting returns.

The $38,528,921.05 that bettors pushed through sportsbooks windows in September signal a significant jump from the $8.5 million bet through the last two weeks of August. The two-week period marked the opening days of Iowa betting and did not enjoy the start of the NFL season.

Iowa became the 11th state to introduce sports betting to customers when they went live on August 15th. As it stands, Iowa is alone in offering sports betting in their region as there are no neighboring states that have legalized wagering to date.

Why Did Iowa See Their September Betting Numbers Surge?

Iowa saw a dramatic increase in betting due to the start of the NFL season and the extension of the college football schedule, but another huge reason why the state’s handle increased was early adoption of online betting.

Whereas several states that legalized sports betting have dragged their feet on online access, Iowa allowed betting via mobile apps at the very beginning and the early numbers showed the success of offering this option to bettors.

Close to $21.8 million of Iowa’s total handle came from online betting. In the state, one casino, Prairie Meadows in Altoona, reigned supreme as their sportsbook took in $14.5 million in total bets with $12.963 million, or 89.2%, coming from mobile betting.

The Prairie Meadows’ September take is quite impressive when you consider the second place handle of the Ameristar in Council Bluffs. That casino brought in $3.8 million but is not offering online betting to their customers at this point in time.

Total tax income for the state reached $334,553 as the state has one of the lowest taxable rates for casinos at 6.75% of net receipts.

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How Does Iowa Gaming Officials Feel About the September Revenue Figures?

Just six weeks into the era of Iowa sports betting casino operators and gaming officials are quite pleased with the early revenue figures.

“There were a lot of busy books that weekend, and we’re still hearing reports on Saturdays and Sundays that there are lines out the doors of many sportsbooks,” Brian Ohorilko, Iowa Gaming Commission Administrator told the Des Moines Register. “So we’ve definitely seen some big days.”


Iowa’s first full September compares very favorably when compared to other states’ first September last year. Mississippi brought in $31.8 million in their first September, but other states such as Delaware ($14.4 million) and West Virginia ($7.3 million) finished far behind the Iowa totals.

Iowa even eclipsed Indiana as the Hoosier State brought in just $35.2 million, over $3 million less than the Hawkeye State in September.

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