Feb 10, 2023 - Business

Iowa's sports bets chill amid competition

Illustration of dice being rolled within a stadium

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Iowa's sports betting is losing its edge.

  • Between June and December 2022, official wagers were down 9% compared to the same six-month period in 2021, according to data from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC).

What's happening: Iowa, which launched legal sports betting in August 2019, is no longer the newbie in the market.

  • As other states legalize sports gambling, statewide advertising and promotions have slowed, IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko tells Axios.

Driving the news: Sunday's Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, marks the first time the event is held where sports betting is legal, writes Axios' Jeff Tracy and Kendall Baker.

  • 50.4 million U.S. adults are expected to wager $16 billion on Super Bowl LVII, per the American Gaming Association (AGA). Both figures are roughly double last year’s record tally.

Zoom in: Iowans placed just under $1.148 billion in legal sports bets between July and December of 2022.

  • That's down from almost $1.255 billion in the same period the previous year.

State of play: The current fiscal year is expected to be the state's first overall decline since 2019.

  • Sunday's Super Bowl should be a big day but unlikely to boost overall gaming totals enough to catch up with the previous fiscal year, Ohorilko says.
  • Fiscal year-end totals could ultimately be around 20% lower.

The big picture: 19 states had legalized sports betting in 2020. There are now 33, according to data from the AGA.

  • Illinois' program launched in 2020 and Nebraska's is not yet live.
  • Proposals in Minnesota and Missouri could have further impact on Iowa's take if ratified, Ohorilko projects.
Data: American Gaming Association; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

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