The dropping of an in-person registration requirement for sports betting is expected to lead to industry growth in the state of Iowa. (Read Iowa sports betting legalization history).
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When legal sports betting was launched in Iowa in August 2019 it came with the unfortunate caveat that all sport bettors had to create their accounts in-person at brick and mortar casinos instead of online. That meant anyone that couldn’t get to a casino couldn’t bet, and it also kept some sportsbooks from setting up shop in the state if they did not have a physical presence.
Why will sports betting in Iowa surge now?
As of January 1 that requirement has finally been waived and most sportsbooks in the state were immediately ready to take online signs ups after getting pre-approval for their new systems.
Prior to the requirement being dropped there were eight mobile sportsbooks active in Iowa. They included BetRivers, DraftKings Sportsbook, Elite Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Hard Rock Sportsbook, PointsBet, Q Sportsbook and William Hill. There’s already been a ninth added to the list after BetMGM went live in Iowa on Monday.
Easing registration requirement is not only expected to lead to more sportsbooks setting up shop in the state, but also increased signs up and in turn increased betting handle. Iowa’s best month of reported handle came in November, 2020 when it reported $87.2 million in wagers. That makes it one of only six states that have legalized sports betting but haven’t cracked the $100 million mark in a month.
Relaxing registration requirements could be what Iowa needs to get past $100 million. Also in its favor is the simple fact that among the six states that border Iowa only one, Illinois, currently offers online betting.
Following Iowa’s removal of their in-person registration requirement, in-person requirements now exist in only two states, Illinois and Nevada. In Illinois it is temporary and hasn’t been an issue since the requirement has also been suspended for residents since June.
Nevada was expected to take action to start the process to remove their requirements after the pandemic shutdown their casinos earlier this year, but that has not started yet.