Iowa Sportsbooks End 2020 With Record Sales

Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks brought record sales to a close in 2020, taking more than $100 million in bets in December 2020 alone to hit $600 million in handling for the year.

But with the online sports betting in-person registration now expired, those high-water points will be short-lived, said PlayIA analysts, which monitors the state’s regulated online and retail gaming.

Jessica Welman, the analyst, noted: “What Iowa’s sports betting industry has achieved, becoming the seventh-largest market in the US, in spite of a significant handicap like in-person registration has been impressive. But with in-person registration now gone, Iowa’s sports betting market should take off. The monthly handle should make a jump forward in the coming months.”

December’s sport wagers

In sports wagers, December brought a historic $104.8m, making Iowa the eighth state to exceed $100m in wagers in a single month. That generated $7.5m in net receipts, yielding state taxes of $508,748.

Iowa bettors wagered $575.2 million in 2020 in a year that saw the cancellation of March Madness, and four months of the college and professional sports calendar deleted. That’s likely to put the state seventh in terms of handling among legal sports betting jurisdictions. Those bets provided net receipts of $41.6m and state taxes of $2.9m.

Potential in the coming year

With the sports schedule predicted to be more predictable in 2021, and with in-person registration gone, there is considerable potential for development in the coming year. Online betting produced $405.2 million in bets, or 70.4 percent of the handling of the state in 2020. But in Indiana, where there is no-in-person registration provision, about 85 percent of the handle is actually accounted for by online betting.

PlayIA.com predicts that Iowa will expand into a market that generates more than $4bn in bets annually within five years.

Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIA.com added: “Assuming Iowa follows a similar pattern, which it should, online betting will not only represent an even larger share of the sports-betting pie, but it should also grow the overall size of that pie. Removing in-person registration is a huge step toward market maturity.”