DraftKings Sportsbook Is Iowa's Sixth Online Sportsbook
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings Sportsbook Could Jolt Iowa Sports Betting Return To Growth

Iowa sports betting

The launch of the DraftKings sports betting app could give Iowa sports betting handle the boost it needs to return to a growth path.

The DraftKings Sportsbook app launch Wednesday through the Wild Rose casinos marks the sixth online sportsbook in the state. But despite adding new operators, IA sports betting handle decreased over the past two months.

Iowa sports betting handle last grew month over month in November. The decline hasn’t been huge, but it’s still the wrong direction for a state that should be ramping up operations.

IA sports betting handle dropping

Total handle sports betting in Iowa fell 2.1% to $58 million in January compared to December. That followed a basically flat December with handle down 0.1% from November.

The drop comes despite continued operator launches in the state:

  • Hard Rock Sioux City launched with the Gaming Innovation Group in December.
  • Q Casino’s self-operated app launched on IGT’s platform in November.
  • PointsBet’s app with Catfish Bend launched in November.

DraftKings Sportsbook might not be the only operator to launch this month. Betfred USA COO Bryan Bennett told LSR he expected its Iowa mobile app to launch in February as well.

DraftKings Sportsbook had time to build a base

Even though it might feel like daily fantasy sports are available everywhere, that’s not the case. There are still seven states where DraftKings doesn’t operate.

Iowa was one of those non-operational states until late October when DraftKings launched the first legal DFS operations there. FanDuel followed a few weeks later, both under the 2019 law authorizing DFS and sports betting.

That means the company has had nearly four months, including two full months of the NFL season and the playoffs, to acquire users in Iowa.

In-person sign-up makes Iowa growth tougher

The fact that Iowa sports betting doesn’t have fully open mobile operations means those DraftKings customers can’t open sportsbook accounts as easily as DFS accounts.

Iowa requires all mobile accounts to be registered through in-person registration at its casinos around the state. That requirement is in place throughout the rest of the year.

The good news for DraftKings is its sports betting brand has been represented through retail books at the three Wild Rose casinos since last fall. There’s been no shortage of interest in when mobile betting could start, according to Wild Rose COO Tom Timmons.

“Since we opened the sportsbooks, we have been deluged with requests for this app,” he said. “We are happy to offer it now, with the NCAA basketball tournament just around the corner.”

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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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