116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Sports betting fever over college basketball slowed in April from the March Madness record but still totals close to $1 billion for fiscal 2022 with two months remaining.
Iowans wagered nearly $118.4 million on professional and college sports events in April, with all but $13.84 million in bets placed via online apps, according to monthly data issued Friday by the state Racing and Gaming Commission.
That drove the year-to-date betting handle to nearly $992.4 million from July 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021.
“We did experience the expected decline in wagering for April,” said Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the state Racing and Gaming Commission. “This will likely be the case throughout the summer. We were interested to see where the handle numbers would settle now that the more popular wagering events were complete.”
For the month, sportsbooks in Iowa took in nearly $7.73 million in net receipts, bringing their take to $75.4 million.
For the fiscal year, almost $5.1 million in taxes has been paid to the state treasury.
The $118.4 million in bets that Iowa’s 11 sportsbooks accepted in April was down 26.7 percent from the record $161.4 million in wagers in March. It was the lowest volume since sportsbooks collected $104.8 million in bets in December.
Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayIA.com, which tracks regulated online and retail gaming in Iowa, noted that Iowa sportsbooks have generated $101.1 million in operator revenue since the industry launched in August 2019 and roughly two years since Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law legalizing sports betting in Iowa.
“Seeing $100 million in lifetime revenue is an attention-getting milestone that crystallizes just how much growth Iowa has enjoyed this year,” Welman said.
The state’s per-day betting average over the 30 days in April fell to $3.9 million from $5.2 million over the 31 days of March.
“Nothing can quite replace the interest that the NFL and the NCAA tournament drives, so a pullback in April is no surprise,” said Dustin Gouker, an analyst for PlayIA.com. “But with a full month of regular season NBA and Major League Baseball, Iowa still put together a decent showing in April.”
Ohorilko noted that 88 percent of all wagering, or $104.5 million, was conducted through the mobile applications, which was a monthly high since Iowa dropped a requirement on Jan. 1 that sports bettors first register in-person at a state-licensed casino to establish an online or retail account.
“The removal of in-person registration at the beginning of the year has been the catalyst for the industry’s expectation-busting start to the year,” Welman said.
“But other factors have helped, too, including a fierce competition among some of the country’s best-known operators, which have been aggressive and creative in reaching new bettors,” she said.
Ohorilko said Iowa now has 11 advance-deposit sports wagering companies licensed and another 14 going through the licensing process.
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