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Iowa betting market begins recovery in May


The latest figures from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission show the state’s betting market recovering from its April struggles in May, with revenue and handle both growing month-over-month. 

While the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos remaining closed throughout May as a result of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), amounts wagered via mobile betting apps grew significantly, rising from April’s all-time low of $1.6m to $7.0m. 

Customers won back $6.5m during the month, leaving revenue of $501,062, a 233.3% improvement from April’s $150,331 total. This was generated almost entirely online, with the total reduced marginally by a loss from the retail channel.

With no new retail bets taken during the month, the only activity for that channel was bets placed prior to the shutdown, which amounted to a $20 bet placed at Penn National Gaming’s Ameristar venue. 

Payouts on bets placed prior to the shut-down across all land-based sportsbooks came in at $5,516, resulting in a $5,496 loss for the channel. 

Looking at revenue by venue, six operators without an online sportsbook took no bets during the month. 

Of the remaining 13, Prairie Meadows, partnered with William Hill, continued to lead the market. Its sportsbook app took in $2.7m in wagers, up significantly from April’s $869,008 total, with players winning back $2.4m. This left revenue of $250,708, up from $62,175 in the prior month.

Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, also partnered with William Hill, remained in second with stakes of $971,193. After $891,674 was paid out in winnings, revenue for the property stood at $79,518, compared to $26,788 in April. 

This set it ahead of Wild Rose Jefferson, the operator under whose license DraftKings is active in the state. Its handle leapt from $38,393 in April to $800,786 in May, with $761,709 paid out to customers. This left revenue of $39,077 for the month, compared to $11,279 in the prior month.

Elite Resorts’ Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, which features a Bet.Works-powered sportsbook, followed in fourth, with handle of $747,403, and revenue of $23,726 after winnings of $723,677 were paid out.

The state’s casinos began to reopen from 1 June, with Elite Resorts reopening all properties from that date. Other operators, however, are taking longer to reopen, with Prairie Meadows unlikely to resume land-based activity before 15 June.