Sports bettors in Iowa have been spending money on sports betting at record levels for the past three months, with each month’s handle surpassing the previous one since October. Of all the record-shattering months of sports betting in the Hawkeye State, December is pretty special because it is the first time that bettors wagered over $100 million. Per a report released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, sports fans in the state spent a total of $104.8 million on sports bets in the last month of 2020.
Although the volume of wagers was bigger than anything the Hawkeye State has ever experienced, the revenue collected didn’t break any records. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a good month as the books hauled a revenue of over $7.5 million which is the third-best that the IRGC has ever recorded in a month, after paying out a total of $97.3 million to sports bettors. At 7.19%, the win rate for sportsbooks in the state in December was however lower than that of the last two months as November’s hold rate was 9.34% while that of October was even higher at 11.11%.
Either way, the numbers were pretty lucrative across the board and the Hawkeye State won more than $508K for its tax coffers. Overall, for the entire year, sportsbooks in Iowa amassed a handle of over $575 million which translated to revenue worth $41.6 million for the books whereas the state bagged $2.86 million in taxes for 2020 in total. Looking at the 2020-21 fiscal year that began on July 1st, the state has so far racked up a total handle of $419.5 million.
More Pleasant Surprises for the Hawkeye State in December
The terrific nine-figure December handle collected by sportsbooks in Iowa is 20.2% higher than the $87.17 million that locals in the state spent on sports bets in November. This impressive monthly growth has effectively put Iowa on the map as the 8th state in the USA to see over $100 million worth of sports bets within a single month. Looking at year-on-year figures, Iowa’s December 2020 handle surged by a whopping 76.9% compared to the $59.29 million that was wagered over the same period last year.
Additionally, December was a particularly remarkable month for Iowa, not because of its winning streak for the third month in a row, but because the monthly handle joined the 9-figure club faster than anyone had estimated. For most analysts, the $100 million threshold was expected to be crossed this January given that the in-person registration restriction for mobile sports betting expired as we moved into 2021.
Brian Ohorilko, the administrator of the IRGC even went as far as expressing his surprise that the state had bested the $100 million mark earlier than he had projected in the following statement;
“This is our highest month since we started back in 2019, and it was the first time we surpassed $100 million in handle. I did anticipate that we would eventually get there, but I think this is maybe a bit earlier than I thought.”
Now that sports bettors no longer have to visit a casino to create a mobile sports betting account in person, it appears that Iowa will continue recording nine-figure monthly handles in 2021. Bear in mind that already, online wagers have always been making up the majority handle compared to land-based betting. In December for instance, 74.5% of the total betting handle which is roughly $78.07 million came from internet betting, setting another record after beating November’s $62.41 million by 25.1%.
If you then factor in the fact that more online sportsbook apps including PointsBet, BetRivers, BetMGM, and William Hill have been rolled out, it can only get better for Iowa’s sports betting industry as sports fans will now have a much easier time to place wagers online.