Sports betting in Iowa reaches record numbers, so can it keep rising over winter?
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So, how was your August and September?
If you were one of the people working for any of the Iowa sports betting apps, it probably could not have been any better: the crazy thing is, October might be even stronger.
Iowa’s sports books saw their total wagering intake for August increase 78 percent from July, from $28 million to just over $50 million. But apparently, that was just the beginning.
In September, the intake went from $50+ to $72.4 million, which was another 33 percent increase from August. Compare that to the take last September (the first month Iowa allowed sports betting), and that increase is nearly 88 percent.
But maybe more importantly for the books, revenue was above $3 million for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2020).
Clearly, the return of the NFL and NCAA College Football is driving the numbers, but August and September had almost a perfect storm for bettors.
August had the NHL and NBA playoffs, along with the return of Major League Baseball. But it also, for the first time, had the UEFA Champions League and Europa League knockout rounds, which are usually March through May.
European soccer, and soccer in general, seem to be a big factor in the wagering, with games almost every day and in various betting windows, from the early morning to the late night.
When there was not much of anything to bet on, or even watch on television, from April until July, there was a lot of soccer to watch. Leagues from Belarus and Nicaragua kept playing while everything else was shuttered, then it was Germany, followed by the biggest domestic league of all, the Premier League in England. By the time the UEFA competitions resumed in August, there was a whole new generation of bettors that wager on the most popular sport in the world.
Heading into November and December, the NHL, the NBA, and MLB will not be playing: of course baseball is done until April, while the NHL is targeting January 1 and the NBA could be later than that.
But there will be NFL and NCAA College Football, and there will be UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and all of the domestic leagues around the globe. COVID-19 does not look to be going away anytime soon, and while there have been some games impacted over the last month, leagues have found a way to play games.
With the NFL and College Football driving the big numbers over the last two months in Iowa, look for that to continue when the numbers for October are released sometime in the first 10 days of November. It could be the same story for November and December as well, and into January.
Sports betting seems to have recovered to pre-shutdown levels. Now, can Iowa follow in the steps of New Jersey, which is breaking intake and revenue records all the time?
This weekend, the 0-1 Iowa Hawkeyes host the 1-0 Northwestern Wildcats, in what is already a must-win for Iowa after it blew a 10-point second half lead in a 24-20 loss to Purdue last weekend.
PointBet Iowa has the Hawkeyes as a -136 money line favorite, and at -2.5 on the spread line. One thing to know about this matchup: the visiting team is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings. Might Northwestern, coming in off a 43-3 win over Maryland to open Big Ten play, make it 5-1?
After last weekend, that looks likely.
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