Iowa sports betting explodes in popularity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Iowans placed almost $ 1.25 billion in sports betting in the first six months of the current fiscal year, according to figures released Friday by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC).

  • This exceeds the amount wagered overall Previous exercice, on average more than 6.8 million dollars per day between July and December.

Why is this important: Most bets are placed online and reviews like Tom coates of Des Moines Consumer Credit warns that convenience fuels addictions and social problems.

  • Efforts to expand Iowa online games to casino games is in progress.
  • Prairie Meadows is one of the only non-profit casinos in the country and its profits help pay off the county’s debt and help dozens of associations.

Catch up quickly: Legalized sports betting is still relatively new in Iowa, officially launched in August 2019.

  • The initial requirement for people to register for in-person sports betting at an Iowa casino ended last year and some casinos believe part of their profits are sidelined by sports betting operators.
  • The in-person flashback “was rocket fuel” for online sports betting, said Russ Mitchell, chief analyst at in a report.

Between the lines: Online sports bettors are largely a different demographic than in-person gamblers, according to a study which was commissioned by IRGC and released last month.

What to watch: “It is entirely plausible” that a bill to expand online gaming will be tabled in the 2022 legislature, Iowa Games Association President Wes Ehrecke told Axios on Friday.

  • Some members of the association support the expansion but the group will remain neutral on the issue this year, Ehrecke said.
  • Angela Connolly, President of Polk Supervisors says Axios in October that she would fight an expansion of online games, saying it could devastate the county’s finances.

Data: Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission; Note: Fiscal years start in June of the previous year; Graphic: Sara Wise / Axios


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