According to State Racing and Gaming Commission data released Thursday, Iowa’s 19 state-licensed casinos reported adjusted gross revenue of nearly $1.seven8 billion through their slot machines and table games during the last fiscal year. They also delivered a handful of sports bets over $2.4 billion which earned them nearly $140 million in revenue for the 12 months ending June 30.
“It was the highest year ever in terms of adjusted gross revenue,” said Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the State Racing and Gaming Commissionas reported by The Gazette. Players also placed a record amount of bets on casino and sports games over the past fiscal year, with wagers exceeding $4 billion, or an average of nearly $11 million per day.
The state’s casinos reported an increase in attendance in the first part of the fiscal year as the economies of Iowa and the United States rebounded and Covid-19 restrictions were eased. Theaters saw an increase in attendance with more than 17.4 million admissions in FY22, up 6.5% from the prior year but still down from 22 .8 million turnstile entries in the record year of fiscal 2012.
The top site by revenue for FY22 was Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, at $49 million. It was closely followed by Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs at $45.7 million, while Ameristar II came third at $36.4 million. Riverside Casino and Golf Resort ($24.9 million) and Rhythm City Casino ($22.8 million) rounded out the top five.
The sites paid more than $349 million in state taxes on gambling at their facilities and $9.6 million in state taxes on sports betting revenue. In addition to casinos, state proceeds from lottery profits were $89.7 million on nearly $400 million in sales through May.
The Iowa Lottery Authority is expected to release its 12-month financial data next month, a revised total that will push overall gambling in Iowa for fiscal year 2022 well above $4.2 billion.. However, due to the rising cost of fuels and goods due to inflation hitting a 40-year high, casino betting has slowed down over the past three months.
Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association, a commercial association for state-licensed casinos, attributed the increase in revenue and admissions to pent-up demand during the pandemic and the public viewing Iowa casinos as “premium entertainment destinations” where they felt comfortable and safe in the time of Covid.
But with rising inflation, casino admissions in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 were 13% lower than the average admissions for all fourth quarters since 2010. “It is not possible to determine whether admissions going forward will rebound or whether a new normal can be expected,” the latest report from the state Tax Services Division said.
Ehrecke said the revenue would be “difficult to replicate”, but show “a robust gaming industry in Iowa…that people love to come to.”
Warhorse Casino Lincoln groundbreaking
Iowa casinos are expected to face further headwinds in the coming fiscal year due to a slowing economy and external competition. Last year, Nebraska officials approved rules for operating casinos in the state, and groundbreaking last week on a temporary casino in the Lincoln Race Course with hopes to open in September. The companies also announced plans for casinos in Omaha and South Sioux City in Nebraska and Hastings, Minnesota.
In terms of sports betting, more than $2.4 billion was wagered in the state for the fiscal year ending June, nearly double that of the previous fiscal year.. More than 90%, or $2.2 billion in bets, were placed using online apps after Iowa law changed on January 1 to allow betting on electronic devices without requiring players to first visit a casino to open an account in person.
“It opened the door for sports betting in Iowa and the numbers have been at record highs since then,” said Russ Mitchell, analyst for PlayIA.com. “You can literally sign up for 17 different sportsbooks right now and compare odds from one sportsbook to another…and maximize your success. It really sped up the ad. That’s why you’ve seen a lot of DraftKings and FanDuel ads offering free play dollars and promo credits,” he added, according to The Gazette.
Iowa casinos and their sports betting partners raised $122.4 million in sports bets for the month of June, a 10% increase from June a year ago, showing that the inflation has not affected this segment. Mitchell predicts that casinos and sports betting will see an increase in the coming months with the return of the NFL and college football.