Larchwood, Iowa — The coronavirus pandemic has slowed the state’s traditional gambling industry — but it has been a boom time in the past few months for the burgeoning sports betting side.
Iowa Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko says the amount of money bet on sports or “handle” shot up last month.
(as said)”The month of September was 72 million dollars. That exceeds the highest month we’ve ever had in the state. Last year in November and December were previously our high months at 59 million,” Ohorilko says.
The sports wagering handle for the fiscal year that began in July is more than 145-million dollars and net sports wagering receipts are 10-point-four million dollars. The total net sports wagering receipts for the first-ever fiscal year was 25-point-seven million dollars. Sports betting started in mid-August of last year, but was shut down from mid-March until the end of May. Ohorilko says the increase in sports betting this fiscal year is due in part to the pandemic pushing back the N-H-L and N-B-A seasons, and the start of the football season. He says it is also due to a maturing of the industry.
(as said)”Last year at this time there were just a handful of operators and those operators were trying to understand and learn about the Iowa market,” according to Ohorilko. “We have quite a few more options for customers at this point in time. I say that — although we still do not have an internet option in the Council Bluffs area,” Ohorilko says.
He says Council Bluffs is expected to add the sports internet gambling in the coming weeks.
Sharon Haselhoff, the General Manager of Grand Falls Casino and Resort near Larchwood says she’s pleased with how their sports betting has been going there.
She says business has been good.
Haselhoff tells us that their online betting has been doing reasonably well too. We asked her if they saw an increase in that style of betting due to the pandemic. But since sports have been sparse, she says it obviously could have been better.
She says their sports betting has been meeting expectations, but as more sports come back online, sports betting will improve as well.