Posted on: June 21, 2023, 02:40h.
Last updated on: June 21, 2023, 03:06h.
Iowa casino revenue slumped for the second month in a row, down 6% in May. And while summer slumps are common in the Hawkeye State, there is a nod to increased competition from neighboring Nebraska.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reports total adjusted gross revenue (AGR) at $143.6 million, down from $153 million in April. Iowa launched on-site sports betting more than two years after voters in Nebraska approved the move.
That was expected as the operations in Nebraska are starting to pick up a little bit, and so we are starting to see some impact there, but nothing that wasn’t expected,” Racing and Gaming Administrator Brian Ohorilko said.
Ohorilko says revenue drops aren’t a major concern but notes Harrah’s Casino and the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluff’s reported dips in the last two months. Just across the river in Omaha, Neb., is where one of the first sports betting licenses was issued, perhaps cutting into cross-state gaming traffic in the future.
Iowa’s 19 state-licensed casinos brought in more than $1.7 billion last fiscal year. The current fiscal year ends at the end of June.
Sports Betting Up, But Mixed in Iowa
While table games and slots slumped, sports bets jumped. Iowa sports betting revenue increased more than 17% from April to May. Overall, sports betting was up more than 31% compared to May 2022.
Revenue and tax dollars were up too, but the overall handle dropped month over month. Thus, the mixed picture. Sportsbooks in the Hawkeye State brought in $147,715,126 in wagers in May, down more than 14% from April. It’s the second consecutive month of handle decline.
The preferred option for Iowa sports betting continues to be online, with $135 million in handle coming from online gambling.
All but one of the state’s 19 casinos have mobile sports betting whereas in neighboring Nebraska, where sports betting is just launching for the first time, mobile sports betting is barred.
Iowa’s Rank on the National Level
So far, Iowa’s handle for May places the state fourth nationally following New York, Maryland, and Indiana. (Not all markets have reported handles as of publication time)
The legal sports betting apps in Iowa in 2023 have thus far averaged slightly more than $196 million per month. That’s about $980,417,920 in the first five months of the year, down more than 9% from the same time period in 2022.
It appears that while the trend for bettors continues to favor sports betting sites, there is upside for the retail market where there is a slight increase in its share. In addition, operators in brick-and-mortar locations kept 13% of their handle.
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