CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The state is expecting sport betting to continue to increase, after in-person registration ended at the beginning of the year.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission required bettors to register in person at one of the state's 19 casinos before gambling on sports from an online app.
The state lifted that rule at the beginning of January.
Brian Ohorilko, the state's director of gaming, told Iowa's News Now, the goal of in-person registration was to increase foot traffic at casinos.
"Many of the casinos did see a bump in their non-sports wagering revenue in the fall of 2019, when sports wagering started," Ohorilko said. "But then after customers went into the casino to register that one time, then many of them really had conducted most of their sports wagering business via their phone app."
From July to December of last year, bettors in Iowa wagered nearly $420 million on sports. More than 70% of that money came from online bets.
Casinos and sportsbooks saw four straight months of record-breaking numbers to end 2020.
"The number of companies that are interested in offering online sports gambling has increased and will likely double within the next three to four months," Ohorilko added. "There is significant competition for customers and many of these companies are marketing very, very heavily right now."
Sports betting makes up only small fraction of casinos sales, according to Ohorilko.
"In a traditional casino environment, sports betting would make anywhere from 2% to 5%of the overall revenue that a casino would make. In Iowa, it is taxed rated 6.75%, so, the casinos will pay that money to the state. Online sports companies have an agreement as a prerequisite to getting licensed. In other words, there has to be some sort of agreement and those agreements are typically a revenue share or maybe a one time access fee. So, they do work together to make sure that they're both successful and part of that is because of the way the legislation was set up here in the state."
Iowa's News Now reached out to several casinos but didn't hear back.