PlayUSA Rewind: Remote Registration Works Magic For Iowa Sports Betting

Posted By Nicholaus Garcia on February 10, 2021

We have reached a short period of calm in sports betting. The 2020 NFL season is behind us, we are a month out from March Madness and several months away from the NHL and NBA playoffs.

But this will not slow down the PlayUSA Rewind. This week, Iowa sports betting records a solid January, Arizona flirts with sports betting and the Super Bowl caused problems for several betting operators.

On the rewind:

Online registration boost Iowa sports betting

Well hello Iowa! And hello, remote registration.

January was an impressive month for Iowa sports betting. Residents and visitors to the Hawkeye State wagered nearly $150 million to begin the year, increasing about 30% from December. Why the sudden spike? January was the first-month customers had the ability to sign-up for sports betting account remotely.

According to data from the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission, Iowa sportsbooks collected roughly $11 million in revenue, translating to $765,672 in state taxes.

The takeaway: Numbers like these continue to prove how impactful remote registration is to the gaming industry, especially during a pandemic. States like Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio that are still discussing plans to launch sports betting should monitor how remote registration helps with logistics. There is nothing worse than missing out on tax dollars because people don’t want to drive to a public place to sign up for accounts – rightly so in a pandemic.

Arizona sports betting bill has the kitchen sink

Everyone knows if you want to get a sports betting bill passed, you open the flood gates. Right?

Wrong.

All that a jammed packed sports betting bill does is complicate things and delay the process.

A pair of bills recently emerged which would make Arizona sports betting a reality. However, they are packed full of every sports betting component imaginable, including the kitchen sink.

In addition to sports betting, HB 2772 and SB 1797 would also permit daily fantasy sports and keno.

They also allow for:

  • Tribal sports betting (16 tribes operating 24 casinos)
  • 20 total licenses (10 tribal & 10 for professional sports operators)
  • Kiosks
  • Betting at stadiums, arenas, and courses associated with AZ professional sports teams

While it doesn’t sound like much, that is a lot of content for one bill. The odd part is the 10 licenses for pro-sports teams. Arizona only has five major sports franchises and two prominent racetracks, Phoenix Raceway and TPC Scottsdale. Expect some push back from tribal operators on that one.

The takeaway: It’s clear that Arizona is shooting for inclusivity. But perhaps they should take a step back and look at how neighboring states have approached the issue. Step one is renegotiating compacts with the state’s gaming tribes. Then figuring out if a 50/50 licensing split is the best course of action.

Super Bowl traffic causes problems for online sportsbooks

In our last story, sportsbooks across the US couldn’t handle the traffic associated with Super Bowl betting.

Yes, the biggest betting day of the year and a handful of operators experienced some one-off (hopefully) glitches. Customers, this writer included, reported several outages at legal sportsbooks across the US prior to kickoff.

The list includes:

  • BetMGM (Nevada)
  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetRivers
  • Barstool Sportsbook

DraftKings, BetRivers, and Barstool are all powered by Kambi. In a statement to Legal Sports Report, DraftKings said the technical issues were due to the massive traffic to its backend provider.

“We’re aware customers were unable to access our mobile and online Sportsbook. It appears this outage was caused by a surge in traffic that caused problems for our backend provider. Our DFS and pools products, supported by in-house technology, are functioning without issue. This incident is why we believe owning our own technology is important.”

The takeaway: You should prepare for the worst. Things might have been easier back in 2019 when less than a handful of states had online sports betting. But as the industry continues to push mobile wagering, backend providers like Kambi will need to up their game. Sportsbooks should be preparing for another massive surge in traffic as March Madness steadily approaches.

Photo by Nati Harnik / Associated Press
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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