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Iowa Casino Revenue Drops 12% in April

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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: May 20, 2024

Iowa's Decrease

In April, the gaming revenue generated by Iowa’s 19 land-based casinos fell by 12%, from $164.3 million in March to $143.8 million, according to the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC). This decline highlights the volatility of the gaming industry, which can be influenced by various factors including economic conditions and consumer behavior.

 

Key Points

  • Revenue Decline for Land-Based Casinos: Iowa's 19 land-based casinos saw a 12% drop in gaming revenue in April, falling from $164.3 million in March to $143.8 million. Both slot machine and table game revenues experienced significant declines, with slot machine revenue down 17% from the previous month.
  • Sports Betting Growth: Despite a slight decrease in win rate, sports betting revenue in Iowa grew by 17.1% compared to April 2023. Sportsbooks across the state reported a total adjusted gross revenue of $16.5 million, with DraftKings leading the market.
  • Legislative Stalemate on Online Casino Bill: The Iowa legislature adjourned on April 20 without advancing the online casino bill, leaving the future of online gaming in the state uncertain. State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann remains optimistic about the bill's progress, while the Iowa Gaming Association's CEO is doubtful about its passage in the near future.

 

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino led the revenue charts with a gross gaming income of $19.9 million. This casino reported a win per capita of $122 and contributed $4.2 million in state taxes. Following closely was the Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs, which reported $15.5 million in revenue, with a win per capita of $123 and $3.3 million remitted in state taxes. These figures underscore the significant role that leading casinos play in the state's gaming economy, providing substantial tax revenue which supports various state-funded programs and initiatives.

Overall, the 19 casinos collectively contributed $28.2 million to the state’s revenue, a substantial sum that underlines the economic impact of the gaming sector. Additionally, the endowment fund brought in $1.1 million, further enhancing the state’s financial health. However, the IRGC’s April 2024 revenue report indicated a decline in both slot machine and table game revenues, pointing to broader trends affecting the industry.

The 19 casinos operated a total of 14,253 slot machines in April, generating $129.1 million in revenue. This marked an 8% decrease from the previous year and a 17% drop from March 2024’s $147.5 million. The decline in slot machine revenue could be attributed to various factors, including seasonal changes, shifts in consumer spending, and possibly increased competition from other entertainment options. Table game income also saw a decline, dropping by 4% to $14.7 million from 439 tables. Within table games, Blackjack generated $4.3 million, while Craps contributed $2.1 million. These declines suggest that player interest and spending patterns may be shifting, necessitating strategic adjustments by the casinos to maintain profitability.

Despite a slight decrease in the win rate, sports betting revenue showed strong growth. Sportsbooks across the state achieved a 7.9% hold, resulting in an adjusted gross sports betting revenue of $16.5 million. This represents a 17.1% increase compared to April 2023, despite the win rate being slightly lower. In the first four months of 2024, tax collections from sports betting amounted to $4.8 million, a $641,500 increase over the same period last year. This growth indicates a robust and expanding market for sports betting in Iowa, driven by increased participation and wagering activity.

In April, 19 active operators accepted bets totaling $196.6 million, with an aggregate hold on mobile wagers of 8%. DraftKings led the market with a $73.1 million handle and $6.2 million in prizes, achieving an 8.5% win rate. FanDuel followed with $5.8 million in revenue from $57.4 million in bets. ESPN Bet also performed strongly with a $7.5 million handle. Other top operators included Caesars, Bet365, and Circa Sports. These figures highlight the competitive nature of the sports betting market in Iowa and the significant revenue potential it holds for operators and the state alike.

The Iowa legislature adjourned on April 20 without advancing the online casino bill. State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, the sponsor of HSB227, believes the measure is moving in the right direction, but Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association, is skeptical that lawmakers will pass online casino legislation in 2025. This legislative inaction leaves the future of Iowa’s online gaming industry uncertain, impacting potential market growth and regulatory developments.

 

“April was a challenging month for Iowa’s land-based casinos with significant declines in slot and table game revenues. However, sports betting continued to show robust growth, suggesting a shift in consumer preferences within the gaming market.”

 

Conclusion

April was a challenging month for Iowa’s land-based casinos with significant declines in slot and table game revenues. However, sports betting continued to show robust growth, suggesting a shift in consumer preferences within the gaming market. The legislative session concluded without progress on online casino legislation, leaving the future of Iowa's online gaming industry uncertain. This ongoing situation will likely require close attention from industry stakeholders and policymakers to navigate the evolving landscape effectively.

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