The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) has reported an 87.2% month-over-month decline in sports betting revenue for April, after the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic all but cleared the sporting calendar and shuttered the state’s casinos.
Revenue for the month dropped to $150,331, with amounts wagered dropping to $1.6m, down from $19.6m in March. This was by far the lowest monthly handle reported since the market opened, and exclusively generated online, after the bricks and mortar venues shut from March 17.
Furthermore, prospective new online customers are required to register in person at a land-based facility before they can place bets via websites and apps, meaning there was no way to sign up new customers.
Players won $1.4m, leaving online revenue of $156,838. However this was reduced by $6,455.88 paid out to retail customers, most likely for bets placed in prior months, while handle was reduced by $51. This may have been due to customer stakes refunded by Q Casino ($37) and Hard Rock ($14).
Over the month, six casinos that had not yet launched igaming were unable to accept wagers in April.
Of the other 13, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, partnered with William Hill, led the market, though saw revenue and handle fall dramatically. Amounts wagered fell 87.3% to $869,008 – all online – while revenue declined 89.8% to $62,175.
Another William Hill partner, Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, remained in second with revenue of $26,788, down 80.9%, while handle declined 89.0% to $186,175.
With all licensees seeing revenue and handle slashed, Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, the Elite Casino Resorts property with a Bet.Works-powered online sportsbook, moved into third place in terms of revenue generated. Its monthly total, of $13,356, from stakes of $48,685, was down from $81,067 in March, however.
High payout rates resulted in properties that reported significantly higher handle than Riverside seeing revenue slashed in April. Lakeside Casino (another William Hill partner), for example, saw $$121,021 wagered, though after paying out $122,061 reported a loss of $1,040 for the month.
Catfish Bend Casino, which offers a PointsBet-powered sportsbook, came in fourth in terms of amounts wagered. However, it paid out $67,6778 of the $71,645 staked, leaving it with revenue of $3,968.
The closure of the state’s casinos was extended late in April to at least May 15, and the IGRC is yet to announce a plan for the reopening. From May 1, however, a partial reopening of shops and restaurants began, with venues limited to 50% capacity.