Iowa’s sportsbooks extended a streak of month-over-month declines in betting volume, taking in less than $89 million in bets in July in what was the 24th month of sports betting in the state. July’s betting volume decrease is historically the single slowest month for sports wagering in the U.S., and even the Olympics and NBA Finals couldn’t reverse the trend in Iowa, according to PlayIA, a leading source for news and analysis of the Iowa gaming market.
“The Olympics and the later-than-usual NBA Finals gave bettors more opportunities to place a bet than what would be a typical July, but neither were able to move the needle much,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com. “Bettors simply check out in July, when summer vacations and other pursuits take precedence. But a surge in betting will certainly come with the beginning of the football season.”
Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks took in $88.9 million in July, down 20% from $111.2 million in June to extend a streak of month-over-month declines to four, according to official data released Friday. July marked the lowest handle in the state since November 2020, as bettors placed $2.9 million per day over the 31 days of July, well short of the $3.7 million per day in June.
The betting volume results followed a historical trend. The pandemic skewed 2020 data, but the lowest volume month across the U.S. in both 2018 and 2019 was in July. The boost in volume pushed net operator revenue to $7.1 million in June, down 15.7% from $8.4 million in June. That resulted in $479,479 in tax revenue for the state.
Baseball and basketball held most of Iowa’s betting water in July. Iowa put in place a cautious framework for Olympics betting, which barred wagering on individual events that feature athletes under the age of 18. That took some of the betting inventory off the board.
“Mainstream sports such as basketball and golf, along with a handful of high-profile events, have drawn the most Olympics interest,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayUSA.com and PlayIA.com. “But there was no wave of action from the Olympics. Bettors aren’t as comfortable wagering on Olympic events. And partly it’s because betting on many high-profile events in swimming and gymnastics, which took center stage in the early part of the Olympics, were barred because minors were competing.”
Sports betting launched in Iowa on Aug. 15, 2019, which made July 2021 the 24th month of operation. It has been a winding road with the pandemic that hobbled the industry in 2020 and the removal of in-person registration requirements that has rocketed the market forward in 2021.
In 24 months, Iowa sportsbooks have generated:
- $1.7 billion in wagering
- $122.8 million in gross gaming revenue
- $8.3 million in tax revenue
“Iowa has experienced so many twists and turns over the last two years, but the state’s sportsbooks find themselves in a good place,” Welman said. “Sportsbooks will hit more than $1 billion in wagering by September at the latest, nearly doubling the handle for all of 2020 before football kicks off. That is staggering growth.”
In July, $77.9 million in bets were made online, representing 87.6% of the state’s handle. Retail betting accounted for the remaining $11.0 million.
Caesars Sportsbook, which was rebranded from William Hill, generated 35% of Iowa’s handle in July with $31.1 million in total wagers. That is down from $36.65 million in June. $28.7 million of July’s wagers were made online. In all, July’s wagering yielded $1.0 million in net receipts.
Wild Rose, which includes DraftKings and BetRivers, took in $25.2 million in online and retail wagering, down from $31.5 in June. July’s handle included $25.0 million in online wagering. The wagering was enough to produce $2.6 million in revenue, topping the market.
Diamond Jo, fueled by FanDuel and BetMGM, was third in the state with $21.4 million in combined wagers, down from $26.6 million in June. $18.4 million of July’s wagering came online. That was enough to net a market-leading $2.4 million in revenue.
Bally Bet, the state’s newest operator, collected $1.1 million in wagers and $111,157 in revenue in its first full month of operation.