Iowa Casinos Win $142.4 Million To Close Out 2022

Written By Derek Helling on January 31, 2023
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Iowa casinos had been on a roll in 2022. However, a stretch of year-over-year improvements in terms of gaming revenue seems to have taken the holiday season off in Hawkeye State.

The state’s 18 brick-and-mortar commercial casinos failed to build on their poker, slots, and table games revenue from December 2021 in the same month last year. At the same time, the year-over-year decline was small and the casinos are still on pace to finish ahead for the current fiscal year.

Regulators release latest Iowa casinos numbers

December 2022 saw Iowa casinos pull in more than $142.4 million in revenue from gaming activity. That consists of poker, slots, and table games. Iowa accounts for revenue from in-person bets on sports separately.

The good news for the casino operators is that represents an improvement on November 2022‘s $137.8 million in win of around 3.3%. Additionally, five of the 18 casinos built on their revenue totals from December 2021.

That might be where the positives end in looking at the numbers for December 2022, however. Overall, the hold for all the casinos in Iowa fell by about 3.5% in comparison to the $147.5 million the same properties collected in December 2021.

The greatest disparity in the annual comparison came at the gaming tables. In December 2021, games like baccarat, blackjack, and roulette drew $15.6 million in win. Last month, the same casinos produced a million dollars less for a drop of about 6.5% in that category.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko has a theory as to why the tables saw less action to close out 2022. He also remains optimistic for the fiscal year as a whole.

Why December’s decline is no big deal

According to Dar Danielson of RadioIowa, Ohorilko pointed out that “the weather can have a big impact on casinos, especially when there’s poor weather on Fridays and through the weekend.” December 2022 saw multiple winter storm warnings across Iowa including one blizzard warning.

However, it’s unlikely that Iowa casino operators are in a glum mood despite December’s winter doldrum. Ohorilko explains why.

“Up until that point, numbers have been strong and we’re actually seeing increases year over year from a record year the year before,” Ohorilko commented.

The numbers bear out Ohorilko’s commentary. Fiscal years for the Iowa casino industry start in July and end in June. From July through December 2022, the casinos won more than $876.9 million. Through all of FY2022 (July 2021 through June 2022), the same properties took in $1.7 billion.

That means Iowa casinos need to average just $137.2 million in gaming revenue a month for the rest of the current fiscal year to top last year’s total. Furthermore, as Ohorilko stated, doing so would again break the state’s record for casino win.

December 2022 might not have been eye-raising in and of itself for Iowa casinos. But it more than pulled its weight in terms of keeping up a record-breaking pace.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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