After spending the first year of legalized sports betting failing to generate $60 million in handle in any single month, bettors in Iowa took advantage of the increased sports offerings in September to race past that benchmark and generate a record $72.4 million according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
The figure represents the apex of a steep five-month climb for the Hawkeye State, which saw handle plummet to less than $1.6 million in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in April when casinos and major sports were shuttered. The handle in September shows an increase of 43.9% from the $50.3 million generated in August and also pushed Iowa over $500 million in cumulative handle since the state began accepting wagers in August 2019.
The previous monthly high was $59.3 million set in November.
The state’s 18 casinos generated sports betting revenue of slightly less than $5.2 million, a hold of 7.14% on wagers. That is the second-highest monthly revenue total generated for sports betting, trailing only the $5.6 million in October of last year. Iowa’s tax coffers collected nearly $350,000 in revenue, nearly matching the total from the previous two months combined.
Sportsbooks busy across the Hawkeye State
While Prairie Meadows again was the primary driver of handle for September — the William Hill sportsbook there accounted for over 25% of the overall handle with nearly $18.3 million taken in bets — five other casinos cleared $5 million in accepted sports bets. Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson was the “best of the rest,” narrowly missing the $7 million mark as online betting through DraftKings accounted for nearly 98.5% of its total handle.
The overall online handle of $50 million also set a new standard, easily eclipsing the previous high of $37.8 million established in February. Online wagering accounted for 69.1% of the overall handle, representing a slight drop compared to August.
Diamond Jo Worth and Ameristar II, which ranked third and fourth, respectively, in handle for September, both posted double-digit hold percentages. Diamond Jo collected $732,823 on $6.1 million for a hold of 12.02%, while Ameristar recorded $803,249 in revenue on nearly $5.7 million in handle for a hold of 14.17%.
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