Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks closed 2020 on a record pace, collecting more than $100 million in bets in December 2020 alone to approach $600 million in handle for the year. But with in-person registration for online sports betting now expired, those high-water marks will be short-lived, according to analysts for PlayIA, which tracks regulated online and retail gaming in the state.
“What Iowa’s sports betting industry has achieved, becoming the seventh-largest market in the U.S., in spite of a significant handicap like in-person registration has been impressive,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIA.com. “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.”
According to official data released Friday, December brought a record $104.8 million in sports wagers, making Iowa the eighth state to surpass $100 million in wagers in a single month. That produced $7.5 million in net receipts, yielding $508,748 in state taxes.
In a year that saw the cancellation of March Madness, and four months of the college and professional sports calendar wiped out, Iowa bettors wagered $575.2 million in 2020. That will likely place the state seventh among legal sports betting jurisdictions in terms of handle. Those bets produced $41.6 million in net receipts and $2.9 million in state taxes.
With the sports schedule expected to be more stable 2021, and in-person registration gone, the room for growth in the year ahead is significant. Online betting generated $405.2 million in bets, or 70.4% of the state’s handle in 2020. But in Indiana, where there is no-in-person registration requirement, online betting currently accounts for about 85% of the handle.
PlayIA.com projects that within five years Iowa will grow into a market that generates more than $4 billion in bets annually.
“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,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIA.com. “Removing in-person registration is a huge step toward market maturity.”
For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Iowa, visit PlayIA.com/news.