After a disappointing February for the Iowa sports betting industry, the month of March provided some much better numbers. Both the total sports betting handle and the sports betting revenue set new state records in March, and the NCAA Tournament played a significant role in the growth.
The total sports betting handle in March was just over $161 million, which was an increase of more than 12 percent from February. The previous record for sports betting handle was $149.5 million, set in January 2021.
Not only did the March sports betting handle numbers go up from February, but it also marked an increase of 724% from the March 2020 numbers. Most sportsbooks were shut down a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the state.
Sports betting revenue in March was $13.5 million, also shattering the previous state record.
Both of these records will likely be shattered again in 2021, and it could happen as soon as April.
Mobile Handle Leading Charge
Now that there is remote registration allowed in Iowa, online sports betting has dominated the market. The in-person registration requirement went away on January 1, 2021, which has led to a considerable increase in the sports betting numbers.
For March, the online sports betting handle was $139.3 million, which was an increase of nearly 12 percent from February. This is an even larger increase year-over-year, and mobile betting accounted for just about 60 percent or less for most months in 2020.
Hawkeyes Help Out Sportsbooks
It was a rough NCAA Tournament for the Iowa Hawkeyes after they were among the top betting favorites to win the championship. Sports fans in the state were not happy with the Hawkeyes’ early exit, but it provided a significant boost to the sports betting industry.
There were plenty of bettors that picked the Hawkeyes to win the NCAA Championship, and all of those futures bets lost in the first weekend. Bettors in Iowa can also make single-game wagers on the Hawkeyes, and that was another win for the sportsbooks.
Iowa failed to cover the spread in their first-round game against Grand Canyon University and then was blown out in the Second Round against the Oregon Ducks.
New Options Coming
Now that the NCAA Tournament has come to a close, there could be a limited amount of growth in the Iowa sports betting industry moving forward. The NBA and MLB seasons are expected to drive the market, but those are not very popular betting options.
TheScore Bet was the latest sports betting app to launch in Iowa, which could boost the state for a few more weeks. BettHouse is looking to launch by the end of this month, and it will be interesting to see what kind of boost that provides.
All of the casinos in Iowa are now eligible to add a third sports betting skin, but there haven’t been any major deals reached since that legislation passed. Look for a big push from new sportsbooks before the 2021 NFL season in September.