Iowa Betting Handle and Revenue Spikes in March

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reported that the state collected $272.4 million in sports betting handle in March, which was a significant increase from February’s tally of $220.6 million. Much of that increase was plausibly down to the effect of Caitlin Clark and her run with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

According to the IRGC, total sports wagering payouts were $254.1 million, leaving a little over $18 million in net receipts from sports betting. Online betting dominated the majority of the wagering in the state in March, with $252 million bet with online sportsbooks. Of that, $235.4 million was paid out back to patrons. A total of $16.5 million was generated in gross betting revenue from online books.

Retail handle crossed $20 million in the state but with $18.7 million paid back to players, total net receipts from online sportsbooks was just $1.6 million. In total, the state collected $1.2 million in tax from sports betting in March.

More: Iowa Sports Betting | Sports Betting Apps | Sportsbook Promos

DraftKings Iowa Closes in on $100 Million in Handle

Of Iowa’s 19 online sportsbooks, DraftKings (operating under Crown IA Gaming, LLC) generated $98.8 million in handle. After paying out $92.1 million to customers, DraftKings collected $6.6 million in receipts with a hold rate of 6.7%, just below the industry standard of 7%.

FanDuel (operating under Betfair Interactive US LLC) had a comparatively quiet month with a hold rate of 7.6%. FanDuel collected $67.7 million in handle and paid back $62.5 million to patrons, leaving $5.1 million in gross betting revenue. FanDuel has now had two straight months with a hold rate below 10%.

ESPN BET generated $10.7 million in handle from online betting but managed to collect just $790,871 in revenue after paying back close to $10 million to users. Caesars Sportsbook (operating under American Wagering Inc) topped $30 million in handle in the state but collected just $1.4 million in gross revenue. BetMGM also picked up over $1 million in revenue after generating close to $18 million in betting handle.

Two online sportsbooks – Bally’s Management Group and Digital Gaming Corporation – finished in the red. Bally’s had $1.1 million in handle but lost $29,585, the second-worst loss for the company after losing $36,870 in December last year.

Bet365 (operating under Hillside Iowa LLC) had another consistent month in the state, collecting $8.8 million in sports betting handle. After paying out $8.2 million back to customers, the company collected betting revenue of $582,305.

The Caitlin Clark Effect

The Hawkeyes’ run to the NCAA women’s championship title gained massive interest among sports bettors, majorly due to Caitlin Clark. While Iowa does not allow prop bets on college games, March’s numbers suggested the Hawkeyes had a substantial part to play in the state collecting over $270 million in handle, the sixth-highest wagering tally in Iowa’s betting history.

“NCAA women’s hoops was up 14x by handle year over year at DraftKings,” the company’s spokesperson said. “We’ve seen steady growth in engagement with the WNBA as well. We’ll see what Clark brings to the table.”

Year-On-Year Growth in Iowa

Considering sports betting was launched in Iowa in 2019, the state has quite a rich sample size of betting data. Including March this year, Iowa has registered sports betting handle in excess of $250 million in five of the last six months, with the only exception being February’s tally of $220.6 million.

Last March, Iowa reported $232.6 million in handle, which has grown quite significantly into this year. However, with a low hold rate, revenue has dipped year-on-year. In 2023, Iowa collected $2.42 billion in sports betting handle. At a hold rate of 8.2%, gross revenue totaled $198.7 million, which generated $13.4 million in tax revenue for the state.

Handle and revenue have only increased since 2019’s tally of $212 million in handle and $19 million in revenue. Iowa has managed to generate in excess of $2 billion in the last three years. However, the win rates have fluctuated: 7.2% in 2020, 5.9% in 2021, 7% in 2022, and 8.2% in 2023. In the last two years, Iowa has generated over $25 million in tax revenue from sports betting.

After a strong start to this year, which has included betting handle in excess of $750 million in just three months, forecasts for this year could predict a record-breaking year for Iowa, with handle over $2.5 billion and revenue over $200 million despite Iowa’s low win rate for its 19 online sportsbooks.


About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro covers the sports betting industry and revenue reporting at Gaming Today. Much of his work analyzes state revenue information, including betting activity and revenue for individual states and sportsbook operators. In addition, Nikhil provides news updates on the gambling industry itself, including product launches and legal issues. Nikhil’s previous experience includes five years with ESPN.

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