Iowa: The Latest State to Exceed $1 Billion in Sports Betting Handle in 2022

George Conditt IV Iowa State Cyclones Sam Waardenburg Miami Hurricanes NCAAB tournament.
George Conditt IV #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones drives to the basket against Sam Waardenburg #21 of the Miami Hurricanes during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

Following the release of May’s reported wagers by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the Hawkeye State is now the eleventh state to exceed $1 billion in sports wagering handle for 2022.  

Iowa launched its legalized sports betting operators in August 2019, and they’re also $100 million short of becoming the tenth U.S. state to surpass $4 billion in their total handle. Naturally, a seasonal downtrend is occurring, which has slowed things down, with May’s handle dropping 16.6% to April’s $177 million in wagers received.  

However, the lower handle didn’t have a knock-on effect on revenue as May rose above April by 1.9% to more than 412.6 million. This 8.5% success rate became the highest on record since November 2020, and it was the first time the state finished above the industry standard since July 2021.   

Iowa saw more than $800,000 in tax returns, and the $4.2 million received from the initial five months of 2022 is more than $1 million than this time last year. Year-to-Year sports betting handle is up 28.8%, as the revenue figures have doubled from the %6.1 million that operators took in May 2021.  

Caesars Loses Traction in the Market Share 

Sportsbook operator William Hill – now known as Caesars Sportsbook – has been the dominant operator in Iowa since the inception of mobile wagering in the Hawkeye State. This was partly due to the operator’s retail presence within Iowa, as the state needed in-person signups for mobile sports wagering.

Since that arrangement was terminated at the beginning of 2021, Caesars has since given up chunks of its market share to the usual sports operator suspects – DraftKings and FanDuel – and BetMGM, Barstool, PointsBet, and BetRivers are additionally making traction.  

May 2022 was the third straight month where DraftKings finished with the most significant betting handle at $38 million, and it was FanDuel who pushed Caesars into third place for the first time by receiving $31 million in wagers up against Caesars’ $30 million. BetMGM also reached an eight-figure return with $16.4 million, ultimately giving the operator more than $100 million for wagers in 2022 thus far.  

FanDuel Revenue

In terms of revenue, FanDuel took the crown with $3.7 million, with a 12% hold that gifted them a second consecutive month in the double digits and a third above 12% across the previous 11 months. DraftKings took $3 million in revenue with an 8.1% hold, and Caesars underperformed in comparison with $2 million and a win rate above 6% for the first time in over a year and a ½.  

BetMGM took fourth place in handle and revenue ($16 million and $1.6 million) with a 9.7% hold. Barstool finished the top five with $316,000 in revenue and $5 million in the handle. It was a comfortable month for operators overall, as the 8.6% was the highest since October 2020.