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How High Will Sports Betting Soar in Hawkeye State?

Since the inception of legal sports betting in the state of Iowa in August 2019, the overall trend – predictably – has been growth.

That’s not to say the trajectory has been ever upward. Revenue has fluctuated up and down from month to month, and always will due to the seasonal nature of America’s most-popular sports.

But there is no doubt that the massive gains it has made since August 2019 are just a drop in the bucket of what lies ahead.

According to the statistics complied at sportsbettingdime.com, Iowa’s sports betting handle continues to climb on pace to grow nearly 500% from 2020 to 2021. The first two months of last year brought in $3.99 million in revenue. (Then the pandemic hit in March 2020, rendering the spring and summer statistics largely irrelevant for projection purposes.)

The first two months of 2021 saw Iowa’s sports-betting revenue balloon to just over $19 million, a 478% year-over-year rise. Reached for comment, SBD’s Sascha Paruk stated that, while all legalized states have witnessed significant growth in the early days, Iowa’s growth is outpacing most jurisdictions.

Heading into the latter part of 2021 and 2022, the growth is expected to level off to some extent. One reason that there was a boon in early 2021 was an easing up of the registration process. In 2019 and 2020, prospective bettors had to register in a brick-and-mortar casino in the state. That’s no longer a requirement as of January 2021. Everything can be done online.

But Iowa is only home to 3.2 million people, meaning there is a discernable limit to how much sports betting can grow within the confines of the State.

Moreover, as summer 2021 approaches, the massive numbers from January ($11.3 million in revenue), February ($7.7 million), and March ($13.5 million) are going to continue to tail off. The reality is that there are simply fewer games and leagues to bet on. May ($6.1 million) already showcased the start of this trend. There is no football (aside from FCS college games); the NBA and NHL playoffs are winding down; and baseball has never been America’s favorite betting pastime, especially in the middle of the 162-game slog that is the MLB regular season.

But don’t let the statistics from the next few months fool you. Iowa’s sports-betting market is in extremely good health.

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