Sports wagering in Iowa expands in new year

2021 will bring with it an expanded sports gambling landscape in Iowa-- which could mean more tax revenue.
Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 8:35 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - 2021 will bring with it an expanded sports gambling landscape in Iowa., which could mean more tax revenue.

The state first launched legal sports betting in August 2019 but it required gamblers to set foot inside a casino to open an account first. 2021 will remove that in-person requirement, allowing Iowans to download a sports gambling app or open an account online and start betting immediately.

Industry experts said the in-person requirement was seen as a limiting factor for Iowa’s sports gambling market.

“This will limit the early adoption of online sports betting to existing casino customers and those who are determined enough to visit their local casino,” The Lines, an online sports gambling information outlet, wrote when Iowa’s law launched, adding that would limit expected revenues from sports wagering.

In its first full fiscal year, Iowa’s sportsbooks handled $368 million in wagers, netting $25 million in revenue. That generated $1.79 million in tax revenue for the state. The state has already surpassed those totals in just the first 5 months of Fiscal Year 2021, netting $27.6 million in revenue and $1.87 million in tax revenue so far.

More than half of the Fiscal Year 2020 revenue, $13.79 million, came from online wagers, which would be expected to rise with the new, looser rules.

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