Iowa's sports gambling explodes in popularity

Illustration of a slot machine with a baseball on the end of the arm
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowans placed almost $1.25 billion in sports bets in the first six months of the current fiscal year, according to records published Friday by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC).

  • That surpasses the amount wagered in the entire previous fiscal year, averaging more than $6.8 million each day between July and December.

Why it matters: Much of the bets are placed online and critics like Tom Coates of Consumer Credit of Des Moines warn that the convenience is fueling addictions and social problems.

  • Efforts to expand Iowa's online gaming to casino games is underway.
  • Prairie Meadows is one of the only nonprofit casinos in the nation and its profits help pay county debt and assist dozens of nonprofits.

Des Moines' YMCA affordable housing deal falls through

A photo of the downtown Des Moines YMCA.
Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

A Chicago-based developer's agreement to purchase the YMCA property in downtown Des Moines has been terminated, Leisha Barcus, CEO of the Y's Greater Des Moines branch, told Axios yesterday.

Why it matters: The Wellmark YMCA is one of the biggest fitness centers in the metro and — while it remains open — its future ownership is uncertain.

Iowa Business Council seeks to overhaul taxes in 2022

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill in the shape of a Rubik's cube
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Creating a more competitive statewide tax policy is the Iowa Business Council's (IBC) top priority this year, spokesperson Christopher Diebel told Axios.

State of play: Iowa's state government is sitting on a $1.24 billion budget surplus.

What they're saying: Reducing taxes on businesses and individuals would help attract employers and people to the state, IBC's director Joe Murphy said in an online statement.

Editor's note: This story is part of Axios Des Moines' New Year's series, in which community leaders are asked to share their "1 big thing" for 2022.

Des Moines storage project lands $1.5 million incentive

An illustration of a storage facility project planned in Des Moines.
One of two buildings that will be constructed near the corner of Southeast 12th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. Architectural rendering courtesy of Imprint Architects

Des Moines officials approved a $15.5 million project this week to build two storage facilities on the edge of downtown's developing Market District.

Why it matters: The development is estimated to result in an additional $14 million in taxes over the next 30 years, according to the city.

Waukee-based VizyPay saves millions in credit card costs

An illustration of a credit card machine swiping a $100 bill.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

VizyPay's Cash Discount Program was one of the winners in last week's Best in Biz Awards.

Why it matters: The Waukee-based business is helping merchants and their customers save big bucks.

Tiny houses? Des Moines artist opens tiny crafts store

A photo of Tickled Turquoise, a tiny business in Des Moines.
Why is everything tiny so cute? Photo courtesy of Misty Oetker

Tickled Turquoise, a 10-by-12-foot arts and crafts store in Des Moines' North of Grand neighborhood, is welcoming visitors this holiday season.

  • The shop hosted its first Christmas open house Friday.

Why it matters: Tiny businesses could be the next frontier for local entrepreneurs, owner Misty Oetker told Axios.

Linh Ta
Nov 18, 2021 - Business

Mourning Des Moines' 4th Street business losses

4th Street
Des Moines' 4th St., seen from Walnut St. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

There's always been an eclectic spark to downtown Des Moines' 4th St., nestled between Walnut St. and Court Ave.

But the pandemic came hard for the area known for its vibrant nightlife and unique entertainment options.

Linh Ta
Nov 18, 2021 - Business

Study: Company partisanship hurts hiring

Illustration of hands grasping mug handles on opposite sides of the same mug.
Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

From Chick-fil-A to Starbucks, more corporations and CEOs are addressing social and political issues, especially as millennials and Gen Z pressure them to take public stances.

Yes, but: Those stances are a double-edged sword when it comes to hiring talent, especially in our current workforce shortage, according to a new study from the University of Iowa.

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