More Sports Gambling Companies Taking Interest In Iowa

Larchwood, Iowa — The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved five more agreements with sports betting companies and casinos during its meeting this month. Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko says those companies are looking ahead to a change in registration rules.

(As above) “With the in-person registration requirement going away on January 1st, there has been some rekindled interest in this market. And so, there are a number of sports wagering companies trying to enter this market by reaching agreements with casinos,” Ohorilko says.

In January sports betters have the option to sign up on-line — or go into a casino and sign up to bet. Casinos can have agreements with up to three different sports betting providers — and he says more and more of those agreements are being finalized.

(As above) “Whether it will be January 1st of February 1st — the market hear in this state will look very different in the next few months simply because of the high volume of new companies that we are going to see trying to compete for on-line sports,” Ohorilko says. 

The casinos benefit from their partnerships with on-line betting companies.

(As above) “Typically what we see when these relationships happen is there is an up-front one-time fee that the online sportsbook pays the casino to enter the market — and then there is a smaller percentage of an ongoing revenue share,” according to Ohorilko. “And in some cases there is a minimal annual fee that is paid by these sports books.” 

Requiring sports bettors to sign up at casinos gave a boost to attendance at the facilities when sports betting started in the state. Ohorilko says there was a concern that dropping the requirement would lead to a drop in revenue from fewer people going to the casinos — but he says that thinking has changed.

(As above) “Many people in the industry are starting to think that really one is not impacting the other in a negative way. And because of that, we might not see as much drop off as we initially thought,” Ohorilko says.

He says casinos are still able to make revenue from sports betting through their online agreements, and the bigger concern has been a drop in attendance brought on by the pandemic restrictions.

Locally, Bally’s Corporation has announced a partnership with Elite Casino Resorts in Iowa, including Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort at Larchwood, allowing sports fans in Iowa to access mobile sports betting licensed by Grand Falls.  Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort General Manager, Sharon Haselhof says each casino is allowed two “skins” or sports betting partnerships, and the Bally’s will be Grand Falls’ online “skin.”