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Gambling in the USA

March Madness propels Iowa to new heights

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IOWA SPORTSBOOKS SET WAGERING RECORD WITH $160 MILLION MARCH

March Madness propels Iowa to new heights, as race for market supremacy heats up, according to PlayIA analysts

(LAS VEGAS) — Iowa sportsbooks capitalized on the popularity of March Madness to set a fresh round of records with more than $160 million in wagering, a welcome result following February’s modest dip in handle, according to analysts for PlayIA, which tracks regulated online and retail gaming in the state.

“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,” said Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIA.com. “With new operators coming online and the in-person registration requirement is long gone, the Hawkeye State is well-positioned ahead of the inevitable summer slowdown.”

In March, online and retail sportsbooks combined to take in $161.4 million in wagers in March, according to official data released Thursday. That is up 8% from $143.6 million in wagers in February and topped the record $149.5 million handle in January. The heavy action, much of which came from bets on the NCAA Tournament, helped Iowa set records for per-day betting average and revenue, too. Per-day betting hit $5.2 million in the 31 days of March, which was up from the record $5.1 million bet per day during the 28 days of February.

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The record month resulted in $13.5 million in net receipts for sportsbooks, which was up from $7.7 million in February and broke the previous high of $11.3 million set in January. In all, March’s bets yielded $908,011 in state taxes, yet another new high.

Iowa and Drake combined for four games in the NCAA Tournament, which undoubtedly boosted interest in March. And the Iowa and Iowa State women’s basketball teams added five more NCAA Tournament games, which also helped spike interest in college basketball betting. But the main catalyst for Iowa’s growth over the first quarter of 2021 has been the removal of in-person registration requirements for online betting in January. Online betting captured $139.4 million in bets, or 86.3% of the state’s overall handle, in March. Compare that to December, the last month of in-person registration when 74.4% of a much smaller overall handle came from bets made online.

“Three months after removing the in-person registration requirements, Iowa has set new highs in wagering per day in each month, even bucking a national trend of declining bets in February,” said Dustin Gouker, an analyst for PlayIA.com. “Obviously the key reason for that is that registration is easier than it was last year, and that has opened the door to new customers across the state. Those customers have responded enthusiastically, and the success of Iowa and Drake this season gave Iowans added incentive to engage with a sportsbook.”

William Hill — which partners in Iowa with Prairie Meadows, Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs, Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo, Isle of Capri Bettendorf, Lakeside, and Harrah’s Council Bluffs — narrowly led the market with $49.5 million in retail and online handle, which included $43 million in online wagers in March. That produced $2.3 million in receipts from online betting alone.

But the two largest sportsbooks in the country continue to gain ground in Iowa. The Wild Rose license, which is anchored by DraftKings but includes BetRivers, came in second with a $44.3 million total handle and topped online betting with $43.7 million, which led to a market-best $3.6 million in net receipts from online betting. FanDuel and BetMGM helped put Diamond Jo in third place with $42.8 million in bets, including 37.7 million in online bets. Online betting netted $2.9 million in receipts .

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Retail betting generated $22.1 million, up from $18.4 million in February.

“It will not be easy for William Hill to fend off DraftKings and FanDuel,” Welman said. “The two largest sportsbooks in the country have brought a lot of marketing know-how to the state, and that has led to continued gains. Ultimately, though, bettors are the beneficiaries as they all compete for attention.”

For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Iowa, visit PlayIA.com/news.

Gambling in the USA

Rush Street Appoints Susan Foster as General Manager of Rivers Casino Philadelphia

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Rush Street Gaming announced that international gaming executive Susan Foster has been appointed general manager of Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

“Having worked in various gaming jurisdictions in America and several other countries, I’m both an advocate for and an example of the tremendous opportunities casino gaming provides. I’m very excited to be back in Pennsylvania at such a dynamic property,” Foster said.

Foster began her casino career as a table games dealer in the UK, Nigeria, and the Bahamas. She later spent 14 years in Mississippi at Grand Casino & Resort and Bally’s Entertainment, where she led table games and poker operations. She then served as director of table games for Odawa Casino in Michigan, before accepting her first Pennsylvania job with Harrah’s Philadelphia.

While at Harrah’s, Foster received Caesars Entertainment’s highest award for excellence in leadership. Thereafter, Foster transitioned from the gaming floor to casino operations in 2015 with Hollywood Casino, where she served as vice president of operations at multiple Penn Entertainment properties for nearly a decade. Her direct responsibilities included the performance and operations of slots, table games, poker, food and beverage, environmental services, security, facilities, and various hotels.

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Foster joined Rivers Casino Philadelphia in April 2024 as assistant general manager. She succeeds Eric Althaus, who recently departed the Philly property.

“Susan’s broad worldview of gaming operations has significantly benefited Rush Street since she joined last spring. Her history and familiarity with the southeastern PA gaming market has proven to be a great advantage for Rivers Philly,” Tim Drehkoff, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, said.

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Gambling in the USA

National Council on Problem Gambling Launches Tribal Advisory Council

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The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction, has launched the Tribal Advisory Council. While NCPG has worked with Tribal gaming entities for many years, the formation of the Tribal Advisory Council represents a deeper level of collaboration to address matters of responsible gambling and problem gambling that are of importance to Native American communities.

The Tribal Advisory Council seeks to increase awareness and respect for Native cultures as they relate to all facets of gambling so that these cultural practices can help other Native and non-Native communities. The Advisory Council will provide expertise and momentum for NCPG’s culturally specific work while recognizing the importance of Native American history and sovereignty in consultation with Native American leaders and experts.

“Our work with tribes is based on a deep respect for Tribal sovereignty and our core values of neutrality, collaboration, respect and credibility. We have a responsibility to listen and learn, as well as the opportunity to share our knowledge as we seek to reduce the social costs of gambling addiction and improve health and wellness in all communities. The relationships and partnerships we have forged over the years are the strong foundation for this exciting new project,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director.

To help facilitate the work of the Tribal Advisory Council, NCPG has partnered with Valerie Spicer and Sheila Morago of the Trilogy Group. The Trilogy Group is a Native American-owned and operated organization with over 50 years of combined experience in governmental affairs, business, economic development, and Tribal gaming.

“We applaud the formation of the NCPG’s Tribal Advisory Council and look forward to supporting stronger connection with the Tribes. This work acknowledges the significance of Tribal Gaming in the gambling sector, the impacts of Tribal gaming on communities, and ways we can support finding balance in helping people heal from gambling-related harm respectfully amid the complexity,” said Valerie Spicer, Trilogy Group Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer.

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Gambling in the USA

Vermont Department of Mental Health Launches Problem Gambling Support Site

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The Vermont Department of Mental Health has launched a new website designed to assist individuals and families affected by problem gambling. The new site, VTGamblingHelp.org, serves as a valuable resource for those seeking immediate assistance and support for problems related to gambling, as well as those looking to promote healthy and responsible gaming behaviors.

Over 11,600 Vermont residents are estimated to be struggling with a gambling problem. VTGamblingHelp.org provides new and vital support services to Vermont Lottery and Vermont Mobile Sports Wagering players. Key features of the website include:

  • 24/7 Helpline: Immediate assistance through the problem gambling helpline, 1-800-GAMBLER, staffed by trained professionals.
  • Live Chat: A live chat feature available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, staffed by problem gambling peer specialists.
  • Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program: A program allowing mobile sports wagering players to opt out of playing for self-selected periods.
  • Recognizing the signs of problem gambling: Tools to help individuals assess their gambling behavior and determine if they need help.
  • Treatment Options: Access to referrals for various treatment options available in Vermont, including counseling and support groups.

“Problem gambling can deeply affect mental health, finances, and family dynamics. This website offers a space for individuals to find the resources and care they need to navigate problem gambling behavior or learn about gaming responsibly,” said Elliott McElroy, the newly appointed DMH Responsible Gaming Program Coordinator.

Vermont treatment providers can use VTGamblingHelp.org “For Providers” page to learn more about upcoming free trainings to become certified problem gambling specialists. The Vermont Problem Gambling Clinical Training offers a free 10-session, 30-hour course to develop skills in gambling disorder assessment, treatment, and recovery support. Participants can earn up to 30 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) – 3 CEUs per live class attended – while learning from award-winning experts.

“As millions of Americans grapple with gambling addiction and millions more face the risk, these services are vital in promoting responsible gaming practices within our communities and providing support to individuals affected by problem gambling and gambling addiction. We are thrilled to have launched this site and optimistic about the resources it will provide to Vermonters,” DMH Medical Director Dr. Kelley Klein said.

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