Iowa Sports Betting August Results Show Strong Start for Both Retail and Online

Posted on: September 18, 2019, 08:45h. 

Last updated on: September 18, 2019, 12:19h.

Sports betting in Iowa generated nearly $146,000 in state tax revenue in August. That’s according to figures released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) late last week.

Over 100 sports bettors waited in line to register for an online account last month at the grand opening of the William Hill sportsbook at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Mobile and online betting accounted for more than two-thirds of the $3.4 million in bets the Altoona track took last month. (Image:

The initial report paints an incomplete picture for a couple of reasons. For starters, the first sports bets did not get placed until Aug. 15. Second, while 18 of the 19 state-licensed casinos opted to offer sportsbooks, not all of them opened at the same time.

In fact, three casinos, Wild Rose Entertainment casinos in Clinton, Emmetsburg, and Jefferson, have yet to open. On Aug. 22, the casino chain announced a partnership with DraftKings. The sports tech entertainment company will provide both mobile and online sportsbooks for its locations.

They are currently working with our staff on tidying up various regulatory requirements,” IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko told “I believe they are close, but I don’t have a good handle on how close they are to launching.”

Two other casinos, Diamond Jo Dubuque and Hard Rock Sioux City, did not open last month. FanDuel Sportsbook opened on Sept. 4 at the Diamond Jo casino near the Wisconsin state line. Hard Rock officials have announced its casino will open this month

Prairie Meadows, Council Bluffs Casinos Lead

In all, bettors wagered nearly $8.6 million at Iowa sportsbooks over the final two weeks of August. That led to net receipts just shy of $2.2 million. Iowa generated $145,915 in revenue, as the state taxes proceeds at 6.75 percent, the same rate as Nevada.

Not surprisingly, the largest totals came from casinos that opened on Aug. 15 and are located in Iowa’s largest markets. Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, a Des Moines suburb, posted a total handle of $3.4 million, with $532,771 in net receipts. That created $35,962 in taxes for the state.

Ameristar II, located in Council Bluffs, just across the Missouri River from Omaha, Neb., recorded a retail handle of nearly $1.4 million, with net receipts totaling $480,650.

Another Council Bluffs casino finished third. Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs reported a handle of $441,273, with net receipts of $192,777 and states taxes of $13,012.

Strong Start for Online

Iowa didn’t just celebrate the opening of retail sportsbooks last month. Seven casinos also opened online sportsbooks as well. Just as it has in other states, mobile sports betting quickly grabbed a significant foothold in the market.

William Hill officially launched its mobile application one day after its opened four sportsbooks across the state. At Prairie Meadows, internet betting accounted for nearly $2.3 million – or 66.8 percent – of the total handle.

Three other casinos reported a mobile sports betting share of at least 58.6 percent of the total handle.

In addition to William Hill, the Elite Sportsbook app was launched at Grand Falls Casino Resort, Rhythm City Casino, and the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort. All three properties are owned by Elite Casino Resorts, which is working with Bet.Works on its mobile application.

While the initial numbers are strong for mobile in Iowa, don’t expect any new applications to roll out in the near future.

The commission does not have any outstanding requests for mobile platforms at this time,” Ohorilko said. “It seems that all that have wanted to launch have been able to do so.”

Iowa’s sports betting law requires anyone who wants to set up a mobile account to register in person at the casino. That requirement expires on Jan. 1, 2021.