Lack Of Full Mobile Sports Betting Hurts Results
Legal Sports Report

Optimal Sportsbook Revenues Elusive For New York, Iowa Without Full Online Betting

Sports betting revenue out of reach

The release of sports betting figures in Iowa and New York continues to show why a full mobile sports betting component is needed for a healthy industry.

The previous issue emphasizing how states can miss out without a full mobile sports betting option came in Rhode Island. Just 15% of handle came from mobile in September due to Rhode Island’s in-person registration rules compared to 84% in New Jersey.

Now, Iowa is showing a similarly slow start to its sports betting industry with in-person registration required through 2020. New York, meanwhile, is laughably behind most other states given its complete lack of mobile betting.

Iowa sports betting improving, but slowly

Iowa sports betting handle rose 20.7% to $46.5 million in October, without any new mobile operators launching, compared to September. Revenue grew 14% to $5.7 million, according to the state report.

But mobile handle lost a little market share to retail in October as 56% of handle came from mobile last month compared to 57% in September. The three Wild Rose casinos beginning their retail sports betting operations contributed to that as well.

William Hill is the clear winner for mobile operations in the state. Its mobile sportsbook with Prairie Meadows brought in $16.3 million in handle. That led the casino to be the state’s overall handle leader with $17.8 million.

Mobile operations with Lakeside Casino and Eldorado Resorts‘ two Isle casinos added about $5.8 million more in handle for William Hill.

The rest of the state’s mobile handle came from Elite Resorts‘ three casinos, which operate on the Bet.Works platform.

More improvement should be on the way as FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet are both still awaiting launch.

NY sports betting flounders

It isn’t completely known how much New York citizens are giving New Jersey casinos in revenue by crossing bridges and placing mobile bets in the state.

It is likely, however, much more than the $2.2 million in revenue its four full casinos made in October via sports betting. By comparison, New Jersey had $37.9 million in revenue in September. New Jersey’s October figures come out Thursday.

The biggest issue with driving business to those four NY sportsbooks is where they’re located. The closest of the four licensed casinos sits two hours away from New York City in the Catskills. (There are also several tribal casinos with sportsbooks; their handle and revenue numbers are not known. Three more tribal sportsbooks will open soon at Seneca casinos.)

New York currently has no mobile sports betting at all after multiple failed attempts. Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow both mentioned working toward legalization again next year, although there’s been no movement so far.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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