Caesars Sportsbook Holds Onto Top Spot in Iowa

A statue of Julius Caesar wears a mask at Caesars Palace. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP.

Caesars Sportsbook held off stern competition from DraftKings to remain the number one sportsbook in Iowa last month.

It reported a handle of $104 million during November, which equated to 39.9% of all sports bets placed in the Hawkeye State.

That left it ahead of DraftKings, which captured a 28.8% share of the market by accepting almost $75.1 million in sports bets.

The Impact of In-Person Registration

Iowa initially required sports bettors to sign-up for an account in-person at a retail sportsbook. That handed William Hill a natural advantage, as it had six retail outlets spread across the state, and it became the largest player in Iowa.

Caesars inherited that mantle when it completed a $4 billion takeover of William Hill earlier this year. It quickly rebranded William Hill as Caesars Sportsbook, and it has maintained market leadership ever since.

Yet the requirement for in-person registration ended in January 2021, giving DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM almost an entire year to catch up with Caesars. They have not yet been able to do so.

Caesars has launched some very large welcome bonuses to attract new customers in the state, and it has also offered a wealth of ongoing promotions for existing customers in an effort to prevent them from migrating to rival sites.

Top Four Dominates

FanDuel was a distant third in November, with a handle of $32.7 million, while BetMGM rounded out the top four with $19.5 million. The remaining 13 online sportsbooks in the state combined for just $30 million, highlighting the dominance of the top four.

Yet it is worth noting that FanDuel and BetMGM enjoyed significantly larger hold percentages than their two rivals.

Caesars held 4.5%, leaving it with revenue of almost $4.7 million. Its handle share was 39.9%, but its revenue share came in at just 27.9%.

DraftKings held 5.3%, meaning its revenue was $4 million. FanDuel somehow managed to hold 13%. Despite taking less than half the wagers that DraftKings handled, it ended up with a larger revenue ($4.2 million). BetMGM’s hold was 9%, or $1.75 million.

There were vast discrepancies in the hold percentages. One sportsbook held 19.1%, and another held just 0.7%.

Another Record Month for Iowa Sportsbooks

It was yet another record month for sports betting operators in the Hawkeye State. In October, they handled $280.9 million, thanks in part to a calendar quirk that resulted in five full weekends of NFL and college football action.

Many commentators expected the handle to decline in November, but it actually increased 2.4% to $287.2 million, according to the latest report from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The state received $2.1 million in taxes from the sports betting industry for November.

Iowa’s legal sports betting industry began in August 2019. Its figures were initially modest, but they have soared this year in the wake of the decision to scrap the in-person registration requirement.

The monthly handle smashed through the $200 million barrier for the first time in September, and it is now edging closer to the $300 million mark.

Since legal sports wagering began in the Hawkeye State, operators have handled $2.56 billion in wagers and generated revenue of $161.4 million, which equates to a 6.3% hold.

Additional sportsbooks in the state include heavy hitters like PointsBet, BetRivers, and Unibet, but they have not yet been able to break the stranglehold that the big four have on the industry.