The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reported on Friday $303.3 million in sports betting handle for January, marking the first time the Hawkeye State has gone over the $300 million mark in 30 months of legal wagering.
Iowa also became the 10th state to surpass $3 billion in total handle in the post-PASPA era. Nearly 75% of the more than $3.1 billion wagered came in the last 13 months, following the sunset of the in-person registration provision on Jan. 1, 2021, which allowed bettors to open accounts online. Handle climbed 13.8% from December’s total of $266.5 million and was more than double the $149.5 million wagered in January 2021.
The previous record for handle was $287.2 million set in November. Iowa has surpassed one-quarter billion dollars in handle for four months running.
Bettors in Iowa continue to give the books all they can handle as they limited operators to a 4.7% win rate for the first month of the year. The nearly $14.3 million is the second-highest revenue generated by operators in state history, but well off the record $19.7 million established in November. It was the sixth consecutive month operators collectively failed to hit the 7% hold that is considered the industry standard.
Iowa’s low tax rate of 6.75% on adjusted gross revenue meant the state again barely missed on collecting $1 million in receipts. November’s record revenue figure resulted in the only seven-figure monthly tax total to date, when more than $2 million poured into the coffers.
Top 10 #SportsBetting Handle by state since May 2018 (Jan in CAPS):
1 New Jersey: $22.78B
2 Nevada: $20.78B
3 Pennsylvania: $11.64B
4 Illinois: $8.91B
5 INDIANA: $6.53B
6 Colorado: $5.03B
7 Michigan: $4.1B
8 Virginia: $3.22B
9 IOWA: $3.13B
10 Tennessee: $3.04B#GamblingTwitter
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) February 11, 2022
Bettors still flocking to and flummoxing Caesars
Caesars was one of four mobile operators to set a single-month high in Iowa for handle in January, but in mirroring the statewide trend of bettors making good plays, it has gained little traction in revenue. Caesars finished third in that category with more than $2.8 million from close to a state-record $112.7 million in wagers, equating to a 2.5% hold.
This is not new for Caesars, which has a substantial market share in the Hawkeye State as the mobile operator for six of the state’s 19 casinos. It has a more pronounced “slump” in failing to reach the industry standard hold of 7% for 12 consecutive months since a 7.3% hold in January 2021.
It was also the sixth time in that stretch Caesars finished with a monthly win rate below 3%, and it has posted a 2.6% win rate on $725.9 million in wagers in that year-long span, collecting just $18.9 million in revenue.
FanDuel emerged as the top revenue generator for January with more than $3.5 million, attaining an 8% hold on a new high of $44.1 million worth of wagers. DraftKings was the only other operator to reach $3 million, edging over the mark by $1,908 while taking $68.9 million in bets.
BetMGM also set a new single-month handle high at $21.7 million, which contributed to close to $1.6 million in revenue and rounded out the quartet of operators to reach seven figures.
Nine of the state’s 18 mobile operators reached seven figures in handle. Barstool Sportsbook again finished fifth in that category with close to $9.2 million in wagers, but a 3.2% hold meant it claimed less than $300,000 in revenue. PointsBet had the highest win rate (8.7%) among the nine, resulting in just over $500,000 revenue from close to $5.8 million in bets.
Iowa’s newest mobile entrant, Daily Racing Form, posted a loss of $4,188 on $60,163 in bets for a -7% hold. Circa Sports and Unibet had combined losses of more than $68,000 in January, though Circa did set a new handle high with $1.2 million in wagers in its fourth month of operation.
Overall, mobile operators claimed $12 million in revenue from a record $275.9 million wagered online for a 4.4% hold.
Numbers were slightly better on the retail side
Handle: $303,327,688 (#1/30 all-time months)
Revenue: $14,269,557 (#2)
Win Rate: 4.7% (#27)
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) February 11, 2022
Iowa’s 19 retail sportsbooks fared better than their mobile counterparts in terms of hold at 8.2% as they generated nearly $2.3 million in revenue from $27.5 million wagered. But that hold percentage was still close to three full points lower than the 2021 collective retail win rate of 10.9%.
Diamond Jo Casino in Worth set an all-time state record for retail handle with nearly $8.7 million wagered, smashing its mark of $7.2 million set in January 2021. Its 6% hold resulted in nearly $520,000 in revenue, a figure that failed to crack its all-time top 10 for monthly totals.
The larger westernmost retail sportsbooks, Ameristar and Horseshoe in Council Bluffs, bucked the trend with win rates above 10% for January. The duo combined for nearly $1 million in revenue on handle totaling close to $9.3 million.