Iowa Sports Betting Handle Eclipses $2 Billion

For Iowa, 2021 went out like a lion (or maybe a Hawkeye?), as the state saw more than $266.5 million wagered on sports in December. According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, that lifted the state over the $2 billion mark for sports betting in 2021.

Iowa was one of 10 states to surpass the $2 billion total in lifetime sports handle in 2021. That fact justifies the state’s effort to put remote registration in place for 2021, and it bodes well for sports betting in Iowa in 2022.

In 2020, Iowans bet $575 million on sports, making 2021’s increase nearly $1.5 billion. Even with a relatively low tax rate of 6.75% on net sports betting revenue, Iowa earned millions for the state treasury last year thanks to sports fans in the Hawkeye State placing wagers on their favorite teams.

Mobile Registration Fueled Banner Year In 2021

Helped by the convenience of being able to register with sportsbooks online via mobile devices, Iowans flocked to sports wagering in 2021. Last year, $1.8 billion of the more than $2 billion in sports handle was taken via mobile transactions or 88.1%. In 2019 and 2020, the first years of sports betting in Iowa, that figure was 66.5%.

While online sports betting continues to grow in Iowa, retail sportsbooks are seeing a smaller share of the pie. Retail revenue for sportsbooks dipped by almost 50% in December, accounting for less than 10% of the total sports handle.

Football, as it is everywhere in the U.S., serves as the catalyst for big sports betting handles. In Iowa, more than half of the annual sports handle ($1.05 billion, or 51.2%) was recorded from September through December, which mirrors the regular season for the NFL and college football.

The feverish popularity of legal betting in Iowa is not limited to sports. According to the Iowa Globe-Gazette, attendance at the 19 state-licensed casinos in Iowa is trending up almost 20%, per data from the IRGC.

Photo courtesy of David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.