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Iowa Casinos Begin 2024 With Steep Revenue Dropoff

Written By Derek Helling on February 12, 2024
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It’s a common saying that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The first month of 2024 has probably left Iowa casino operators less than impressed with the year so far.

Win for casinos in Iowa saw a significant downturn in January 2024. However, the first month of the new year was quite positive for legal sportsbooks in Iowa, ranking among the strongest in the state’s history.

Iowa casino revenue takes a tumble in January

For Iowa’s 19 brick-and-mortar casinos, there have been much better starts to calendar years before. Accounting for revenue from poker, slots, and table games, the properties combined to win over $116.4 million, according to the January 2024 report by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.

That’s a decline of over 14.4% from January 2023 Iowa casino revenue. It’s also the lowest such total for January in Iowa since 2020. Furthermore, it contributes to a disappointing fiscal year for the 19 facilities.

Through the first seven months of the current fiscal year, the win in these categories is down marginally compared to the same period in FY2022-23. While casino operators are undoubtedly hoping for better returns to finish the fiscal year, sports betting activity left little to be desired in January.

Iowa sportsbooks post strong numbers to start 2024

In terms of activity at legal Iowa sportsbooks, you have to do some digging to find better monthly returns. Bettors wagered over $259.4 million during the month. That’s an 8.5% increase from January 2023. It’s also the sixth-highest single-month total and second-highest sum for January in Iowa history.

Of that money, books won about 8.5% or around $22 million. Only four monthly totals all-time have been higher in Iowa. That sum also represents an impressive 25% uptick from January 2023. It was the best January for Iowa sportsbooks on record for revenue.

For all of this gaming activity combined, Iowa casinos and sportsbooks paid more than $26.5 million in taxes to the state and host cities in January. January further fueled what could be a record fiscal year for Iowa sportsbooks as well. For the period to date, revenue is up 16%, while the amount of money wagered has increased by 12.8%.

Another common saying is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Based on which numbers they are inspecting, Iowa gambling industry officials might come away with diverging opinions on January’s business.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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