During their first full month offering regulated sports betting, Iowa and Indiana recorded strong handle and revenue totals in September.
Iowa’s legal sports betting industry went live on August 15, so September marked the first calendar month of operation for both states.
And fittingly enough for the two Midwestern near neighbors, Iowa and Indiana posted very similar numbers in terms of both money wagered and “win” collected by operators.
Iowa Proves the Power of Online / Mobile Integration
Per the first full monthly revenue report published by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC), the Hawkeye State’s collection of 15 licensed casino sportsbooks which were up and running in September accepted $38.53 million in bets.
Of that amount, $33.57 million was paid back to players who made winning wagers, leaving $4.96 million in revenue for operators.
Based on the state’s 6.75 percent tax rate on gross sports betting revenue, Iowa collected a cut of $334,553.
The dominant market leader in September was Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Altoona, where a William Hill powered sportsbook took $14.53 million in handle and $1.47 million in revenue. To put that performance in perspective, consider that Prairie Meadows’ closest competitor was Ameristar Casino at Council Bluffs, which hauled in $3.80 million in handle and $613,219 in revenue.
Prairie Meadows Sportsbook Top in Iowa
All told, Prairie Meadows accounted for 37.71 percent of all Iowa sports betting handle in September, along with 29.64 percent of the state’s revenue.
And as one of the few states to launch online / mobile wagering on opening day, Iowa saw that gamble pay off in spades.
Despite only seven casino sportsbooks offering online / mobile betting, the vertical generated $21.8 million in handle – good for 56.58 percent of the monthly total. As far as win, online / mobile sportsbooks captured $2.02 million in win revenue for a 40.72 percent rate.
Prairie Meadows’ proved online / mobile wagering’s importance with $12.96 million in handle, meaning 89.19 percent of the venue’s betting activity came courtesy of its William Hill app.
In comments made to the Des Moines Register, IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko traced the state’s sports betting boom to the start of NCAA college football season – especially the annual Iowa vs. Iowa State rivalry game on September 14:
“There were a lot of busy books that weekend, and we’re still hearing reports on Saturdays and Sundays that there are lines out the doors of many sportsbooks.
So we’ve definitely seen some big days.”
The newspaper also points out that Iowa’s decision to roll out online / mobile betting at the onset led to superior numbers compared to other states of similar size and population. Based on handle totals from September of 2018, Iowa outpaced Mississippi ($31.8 million), Delaware ($14.4 million), and West Virginia ($7.33 million).
Indiana Posts Largest Debut Month to Date
In the Hoosier State, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) reports 10 licensed casino sportsbooks which were operational during September combined for $35.21 million in handle. That marks the most productive debut month of any of the 12 states to launch legal betting, following the May 2018 repeal of a federal ban on the industry outside of Nevada.
Sportsbooks in Indiana combined to collect $8.55 million in revenue, so based on Indiana’s tax rate of 9.5 percent, the state enjoyed an $813,103 revenue boost of its own.
The industry’s market leader in September was Horseshoe Hammond casino, with $8.98 million in handle and $2.08 million in revenue.
Horseshoe Hammond and Ameristar East Chicago Perform Well
The runner up in both regards was Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago, with $5.41 million in handle and $1.27 million in revenue.
Not coincidentally, both venues are located just minutes from the Illinois border and the Chicagoland metropolitan area, offering residents of that state the opportunity to make a short drive to get their bets down. Illinois legalized sports betting back in June of this year, but the state’s industry has yet to launch – allowing Indiana’s sportsbooks to capitalize on their neighbor’s sluggish pace of implementation.
Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, industry analyst Dustin Gouker of PlayIndiana.com traced Indiana’s record-setting September to the state’s proximity to Illinois:
“Indiana’s sportsbooks are in their infancy, but their ability to capitalize on the Chicago market did not take long to produce dividends.
(It’s) the largest handle we’ve seen in a state’s first month of legal sports betting.”
Online / mobile wagering went live across Indiana on October 3, so the vertical is not accounted for in September’s revenue reporting.