Iowa sportsbooks handle $143.6m in wagers in February

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State sets record for most bets made per day in short month.

Sports bettors in Iowa placed $143.6m in wagers in February, setting a record in the Hawkeye State for most bets made per day.

The overall handle fell 3.9% from January’s record of $149.5m, but analysts for PlayIA noted betting per day was $5.1m, higher than the average of $4.8m per day recorded in the previous month.

Net receipts for online and retail sportsbooks declined 32% month over month, to $7.7m in February from $11.3m in January. The state collected $520,444 in taxes.

With February’s wagers, Iowa’s lifetime handle now is $1.1 billion.

According to Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIA.com, the biggest development for Iowa continues to be the decision by state regulators to drop the requirement for in-person registration at the end of last year.

“Iowa remains perhaps the most compelling case study yet on the effects of in-person registration requirements,” Welman said in a statement. “February is a short month with only one NFL game to bet on, the Super Bowl, so the relatively flat month-over-month results can be misleading on the surface.”

The “strong showing” still places Iowa in a class of states that are either larger or have far more mature gaming markets, Welman continued, adding that would not have been possible under the previous registration requirements.

Online sports betting accounted for $143.6m, or 87.2%, of the February handle. Welman said that is in line with the 90% mark typically seen in markets with more mature online sports betting and no on-site registration requirements.

FanDuel reported its new customer registrations multiplied by nearly a factor of seven from December to January, while DraftKings said that by 5 January, it had registered more customers via mobile than in all of last year.

Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIA.com, said sportsbooks also benefited from an attractive Super Bowl matchup and interest in the state’s two prominent men’s college basketball teams. The big game brought in $16.2m in wagers, most of which were placed in February, while the University of Iowa has climbed to No. 5 in the rankings and Drake University is just outside the Top 25.

“When local teams enjoy strong seasons, as both Iowa and Drake are, interest in betting on their games goes up. We see that in every regulated sports betting market in the US,” Gouker explained. “With March Madness on the horizon, more growth almost certainly lies ahead. Sportsbooks should get an even bigger boost if Iowa or Drake can manage a prolonged run in the NCAA Tournament.”

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