ccording to PlayIA, the source of news and analysis of the state’s gaming market, Iowa has boosted its wagering in August more than 20% from July, marking the first month-over-month gain in betting volume since March. Last month’s uptick to more than $108 million was key for the state to reach $1 billion in wagering since the beginning of the year. 

Iowa’s online and retail sportsbooks accepted $108.4 million in bets during August, up 21.1% from $88.9 million in July, according to official data released Monday. Bettors placed $3.5 million a day over the 31 days of the month. However, revenue fell 14.3% to $6.6 million from $7.7 million in July. Tax revenue for the state accounted for $486,608.

When it comes to trends in sports wagering, baseball led the way last month. Nevertheless, the return of college football is deemed to have been the reason behind August’s increase. 

In year-over-year terms, August’s wagering was up 115%, and revenue grew 120% compared to 2020. Iowa sportsbooks have now generated $997 million in bets since the beginning of 2021.

Online betting accounted for $96.1 million, representing 88.6% of the state’s handle. Retail betting brought about the remaining $12.4 million. William Hill topped the online market with $34.8 million in online wagers, which yielded $229,427 in net receipts. DraftKings was second with $29.9 million. 

Ameristar Council Bluffs topped the retail market with $3.6 million in wagers, netting $643,585 in revenue. Diamond Jo Worth was second with $3.4 million in bets, producing $246,324 in revenue.

According to PlayIA’s analysis, September will show even greater gains, with college football’s full schedule and the return of the NFL. 

Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIA.com, explained: “Futures betting and a handful of college games are enough to move the needle. That’s how important football is to the sports betting industry. August is a precursor for what should be the busiest stretch of the year. Optimistic projections for the last four months put the state past $1.7 billion in wagers for the year.”

Russ Mitchell, lead analyst for PlayIa, added: “As slow as the summer months have been, the growth over the last year in Iowa remains remarkable. Nearly $1 billion in eight months represents a significant jump forward, and that growth should only accelerate over the next four months.”

“A game that creates that kind of excitement is rare, sending fans on both sides pouring into the state’s online and retail sportsbooks. That made it a unique opportunity for the industry to reach college football fans all across Iowa, including those who have never placed a bet before”, said Ramsey.

“Operators have been jockeying for market share since the beginning of the year, but the real test comes with the beginning of the football season. If operators put in place a solid strategy for reaching out to customers over the summer, the fruits of that labor will start to come in September”, concluded Mitchell. 

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