Iowa Shatters Record in September With $210 Million in Sports Wagers

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Football sent bettors flocking into Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks in September, shattering the record for monthly wagers while surpassing $200 million for the first time, according to PlayIA, a leading source for news and analysis of the Iowa gaming market.

"The first full month of football was bound to cross new thresholds, and one of the most-watched Cy-Hawk games in history pushed the volume to another level," said Russ Mitchell, lead analyst for "By any measure, September was a remarkable month. And the future looks just as bright as the Hawkeyes remain among the nation’s best, teams of regional interest litter baseball’s postseason, and bettors become increasingly comfortable with online betting."

Bettors placed $210.4 million in wagers at Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks in September, up 94.1% from $108.4 million in August and up 190.7% from $72.4 million in the corresponding month a year ago, according to official data released Friday. The pace of betting rose to $6.8 million per day over the 30 days of September from $2.4 million per day in September 2020.

September’s wagering easily broke the previous monthly record handle, which was $161.4 million set in March.

Heavy promotion by sportsbooks sapped operator revenue, falling 13.5% to $5.7 million in September from $6.6 million in August. But September revenue was up 10.6% from $5.2 million in September 2020, a month that included just two Iowa State games as Iowa sat out. September’s gain yielded $512,951 in tax revenue for the state.

September was a reversal from the slow summer months, which bottomed out with $89.6 million in wagering in July. For the year, Iowa sportsbooks have generated:

  • $1.2 billion in wagering
  • $74.8 million in operator revenue
  • $5.2 million in state taxes

"Iowa was negatively affected by the slow summer season more than most markets, so it might be easy to lose sight of just how much growth the market is experiencing," said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the Network, which includes "Iowa will almost certainly triple the wagering compared with 2020 and could go even higher if a few things fall into place. That is dramatic growth by any measure."

$186.5 million of September’s bets were made through online sportsbooks, representing 88.6% of the state’s handle. Retail betting accounted for the remaining $23.9 million, though retail sportsbooks generated $4.2 million of the state’s $5.7 million in combined net receipts.

Caesars topped the online market with $66.5 million in online wagers, yielding just $749 in net receipts. DraftKings was narrowly behind with $64.8 million in online wagering, but revenue was whittled down to a $1.9 million loss.

Ameristar Council Bluffs led retailers with $6.0 million in wagers, which produced $200,864 in operator revenue. Diamond Jo Worth followed with $5.5 million in bets, yielding $488,294 in revenue.

"Following the removal of in-person registration requirements earlier this year, online sportsbooks have a unique opportunity to build on the momentum created by such a strong September," Mitchell said. "Operators will work hard in keeping new bettors engaged, especially those who placed a bet for the first time for the Cy-Hawk game. Those operators that are successful in those efforts will lift their fortunes for months to come."

For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Iowa, visit

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The Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA and its state-focused branches, including, produce original daily reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools to advance safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. The PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated based in Las Vegas, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.

Zack Hall, Catena Media, 775-338-0745,