Iowa Posts a Sports Betting Handle Record in March

Powered by a surge of wagers on the College Basketball betting bonanza that is the March Madness tournament,  Iowa recorded its biggest ever sports betting month of March 2021.

Figures supplied by the Hawkeye State’s gaming regulator, the State Racing and Gaming Commission saw Iowa record $161.4 million of legal sports wagers in March, compared to January’s previous record of $149.5 million. Of that new record amount, more than 86% of all sports bets were wagered (approximately $139.4 million) with online sportsbooks. Clearly, Iowa’s sportsbooks continue to record betting numbers at an impressive clip despite the state’s relatively small population, and as a result the Hawkeye State remains in the conversation as one of the more reliable and fastest growing legal sports wagering markets in the country.

Breaking down Iowa’s new sports betting handle record

With Iowa sportsbooks generating $161.4 million in March, the number was 12.4% from February’s sports betting handle of $143.6 million. The Iowa March sports betting handle total marks the sixth time in the last seven months that Iowa has recorded a best-ever handle result.

Sports betting revenues also posted a respectable March rebound. Sportsbooks made $13.5 million of revenue in March, representing a superb 8.3% hold. Those numbers are an imposing 74.5% increase on the $7.7 million the states sportsbooks took during the slower month in February and more than $2 million more than the previous record of $11.3 million hit in January 2021.

Just over $908,000 in much-needed taxes to help fill Iowa State Government’s budgetary black hole and provide badly needed financial air to a range of state health and education services and a range of state funded infrastructure projects. The number was a healthy increase from the $520 444 collected for state’s coffers in February.

Taking a glance at Iowa’s year-on-year numbers, they indicate further evidence of the strength of the sports betting handle month. The March figure of $161.4 million handle is an incredible 724.6% higher than the $19.6 million Iowa’s sportsbooks reported back in March 2020. Year-on-year revenues also leapt 946.8% from March 2020’s $1.2 million to this March’s $7.7 million reported revenue. It’s pertinent to remember that March 2020 was the first month that the effects of the global pandemic bit and many sports began to shut down. Most importantly, March Madness was cancelled in 2020.

William Hill still tops in Iowa but FanDuel closing fast

Ever since the launch of legal online sports betting, popular online sportsbook William Hill has been the leading operator in the Hawkeye State. William Hill held off the challenges of DraftKings and FanDuel, but barely.

Reporting 31% of the total of online wagers in Iowa, William totaled $43.7 million worth of bets. DraftKings and BetRivers combined for another $43.7 million through their land-based casino license agreement with Wild Rose Casinos., while BetMGM and FanDuel took in $37.6 million through their shared license partnership with Diamond Jo casino.

The sports betting handle numbers of other online sportsbook operators in Iowa included;

  • PointsBet – $5.7 million
  • theScore Bet – $1.8 million
  • Elite Sportsbook – $4.6 million
  • Betfred Sportsbook – $972 398
  • Hard Rock Sportsbook – $788 207
  • Q Sportsbook – $350 279

The signs appear nothing but positive Iowa sports betting moving forward according to leading sports wagering analyst, Jessica Welman;

“Iowa was one of the few legal sports betting jurisdictions to actually improve per-day betting in February, so it is no surprise that sportsbooks set new highs in March. With new operators coming online and the in-person registration requirement long gone, the Hawkeye State is well-positioned ahead of the inevitable summer slowdown,” she said.

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