Iowa might be one of the smallest states in the US in regard to population, however, it is showing that it can compete with some of the biggest when it comes down to sports betting activities.
The state has, arguably, become one of the biggest success stories following its decision to permit legal wagering, perhaps becoming a case study for many of the other states that have either followed its decision or are still considering it.
Indeed, many might be surprised that Iowa has managed to be as successful as it has and that sports betting has exploded in popularity as much as it has given that there are no major professional sports teams based in the location, however that does not seem to have stopped many from placing a large number of wagers.
Let’s explore some of the reasons that may have helped the popularity levels of sports betting within Iowa surge and, perhaps, go beyond any expectation that many may have had when it first became legal.
Passing of the law
Naturally, the decision to make sports betting legal in 2019 would have had a profound impact on the popularity of the activity. By permitting it, this means clients can now go on a web browser and use a betting provider, or they can now easily search on the App Store or Google Play for the best Iowa sports betting app and begin enjoying the activity immediately.
With this in mind, it would not have been a surprise if this is exactly what had happened, as many will have been interested in getting involved in an entirely new activity that they would not have been permitted to legally do beforehand.
Adjustment to the law in January 2021
There was a regulatory adjustment that was made in January 2021 that will have only had a huge impact on the popularity of sports betting in a positive way, with it having been made easier for punters to register and sign up.
The change in law meant that bettors within Iowa were no longer required to sign up in-person and can now register from anywhere in the world via online services. This will have meant those that perhaps could not initially be bothered with going through the previous process may have actually decided that they would be able to do so now.
Indeed, it seems that the regulatory change is one that has provided a noticeable difference, too. January had seen a new state record of $149,524,789 in betting handle be placed, which was a 43% above the previous high, whilst 2021 saw a number of records are set including the number of sports bets be placed online.
It had been found that before the regulatory change, around 70% of sports bets had been placed online, however, figures in February 2021 found that figure to jump up to nearly 90%, thus perhaps attracting a new audience such as casual bettors.
It is understood that by the end of 2021 and since its launch in August 2019, Iowa has seen a handle (total amount wagered on sports) be approximately $2.8 billion, which is impressive given it is one of the smallest states in the entire US and does not feature any major professional sports team.
Iowa clearly has a passion for sports betting
Through a variety of different factors, the Hawkeye State has certainly shown that it has an appetite for sports betting. Outside of Nevada, it was one of the first states in the country to be able to achieve the $1 billion total wagered mark, despite having one of the smallest populations.
Additionally, the sports betting industry has perhaps been able to thrive as Iowa provides a number of favorable conditions that many operators will have enjoyed. There is a relatively low tax rate (6.75 percent), whilst there are affordable licensing fees that have created a favorable environment for all the major sportsbook operators.
To put how well the state has done in context, the end of 2020 saw Iowa generate over $60 million in sports betting revenue, whilst also allowing the state to collect over $4 million in taxes.
This was more than double what New York’s retail-only industry at the time was able to produce in the same period, which is amazing given the ‘Big Apple’ has a population that is six times the size of Iowa and boasts numerous sports teams that have loyal fanbases.