Iowa Expects to Benefit From Online Registration

Prior to January 1, sports gamblers in Iowa had to visit one of the state’s 19 casinos to establish an account. Now players can sign up and wager online. Analysts expect revenue to increase dramatically as a result.

Online sports betting operators Rush Street Interactive, BetMGM and PointsBet have opened sportsbooks in Iowa since the state’s in-person registration requirement expired January 1. Now Iowa bettors no longer have to go to one of the state’s 19 commercial casinos to open a sports betting account. Analyst Jessica Welman said, “The in-person registration requirement has unquestionably stunted the growth of Iowa’s online sports betting market, which is the main engine in every state where it is legal. With the requirement in place, Iowa would have never reached its potential as a market. Letting the requirement to expire is akin to correcting a mistake, and we expect Iowa to finally begin to blossom because of that correction.”

In 2019, projected within five years, sports wagering would top $4 billion annually, with operators taking in revenue of more than $300 million a year and the state receiving more than $20 million a year in taxes.

According to PlayUSA Network, in November, Iowa casinos posted $87.2 million in wagers, ranking seventh out of the 18 states where sports betting is legal–but significantly below the $231.2 million in sports wagers placed in number six Colorado in November.

Since August 2019, Iowa gamblers have wagered $682.6 million in sports bets, with $53.4 million in operator revenue and $3.7 million in state taxes, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Under state law, sports wagering revenue is taxed at 7.5 percent, with 6.75 percent going to the state’s General Fund. Operators must pay a $45,000 application fee and $10,000 annual license renewal, The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission regulates sports betting.