Oct 18, 2021 - Business

Prairie Meadows missing out on sports betting profits

A $100 bill with a football helmet on Ben Franklin.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Prairie Meadows is getting sidelined from the profits linked with new customers who place sports bets, Garrick Mallory, an assistant director for the casino, told Axios.

  • It's in part due to a provision in a 2019 Iowa law that states sports betting this year does not require in-person sign-ups.

Why it matters: Out-of-state gaming operators get a larger share of the revenue, which is siphoned from the nonprofit Altoona casino, Mallory said.

State of play: Sports betting began in Iowa two years ago.

  • Prior to Jan. 1, betters were required to activate their accounts in person at a casino like Prairie Meadows that had an agreement with a sportsbook operator.

What's happening: New accounts can now be opened remotely and — unless a user enters a promo code — their hometown casino may not get credited to share the profits, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission director Brian Ohorilko told Axios.

  • Gaming taxes are still paid, he said.

Of note: Caesars Sportsbook, the operator of Prairie Meadows' sports bets, did not respond to our multiple requests for comment last week.

The bottom line: Prairie Meadows doesn't know how much money it's losing because there's no way to track how many new users would have signed up through its casino, Mallory said.

  • The casino recommends entering the promo code "PMRF" if you're using a sportsbook app.

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