Larchwood, Iowa — The Iowa sports gambling market is rapidly expanding as the biggest game in sports is set for this coming weekend.
Iowa Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says all of the state’s casinos now have sports gambling operations — and many are adding on.
(as said)”A number of the casinos that got into the game early with online sports wagering are starting to shop their second individually branded website,” Ohorilko explains.
He says it is a natural progression of the 18-month old industry. Also, the requirement that new bettors need to sign up for online wagering in-person at the Iowa casinos went away January 1st, but bettors still need to be physically located in Iowa.
At Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood, General Manager Sharon Haselhof tells us that both their online side and in-house side are now run by Betfred Sports.
(as said) “Our partner here at the retail site here at Grand Falls is Betfred. They’ve been open here now just over a year. So we’re excited to have them as our partner, you know, obviously with COVID we were shut for two and a half months and sports, you know was the for the summer a little slow until the NBA and Major League Baseball came back online and then really it didn’t start to pick up until the NFL and college football came back and then really they had their best weekend’s during the playoffs. Come January 1st things changed a little bit here in the state where you no longer have to come into the casino to sign up for your account. You can just do it on your mobile account. You just have to be in the state and there are a few more options in the state. But you know for us we have a contract with Betfred so it doesn’t affect us here at Grand Falls, but it does offer more variety for the guests in the state. I think competition is healthy.”
Haselhof says obviously revenues and attendance are down due to COVID, but things are still going pretty well at Grand Falls.
(as said) “I think we’ve done a lot of great things, you know from, you know, increasing the cleaning that we do… obviously the governor has a mandate for masks… as long as you’re you know, six feet away and you know, you have social distancing. In the restaurants again… In the restaurants, you have to wear your mask until you’re seated at your table. So it just a lot of different things that are just different and you know something that we haven’t been used to but I think people are getting a little more used to it these days, but our numbers have been… I guess I would say better than I expected since we reopened. So I’m happy with where things are at. Obviously, we didn’t, you know exceed previous year numbers due to being closed for two and a half months.”
According to Haselhof, their sportsbook folks are looking forward to this weekend’s big game and all the action that will bring.