Gamblers bet more than $4 billion at Iowa-licensed casinos and sportsbooks in fiscal 2023, and even that average of nearly $11 million a day in wagers represented a decline for both in-person casino and online sports betting.
Iowa’s sports betting revenue dropped in the fiscal year that ended in June for the first time since the Iowa Legislature legalized it in 2019.
And for just the second time in the past decade — but excluding the worst pandemic year — casino gambling revenue in Iowa also dropped from the previous year.
According to figures from the Iowa Racing And Gaming Association, which oversees the gambling industry in the state, gambling revenue at the 19 state-licensed casinos was more than $1.754 billion in fiscal 2023. That’s down slightly — 0.7 percent — from the $1.766 billion recorded in the previous budget year.
The Council Bluffs market, which includes three casinos, combined accounted for a year-over-year decline roughly equivalent to the statewide difference.
"We saw temporary facilities open in Nebraska, and the facility in Lincoln likely has had an impact on the Council Bluffs market,” said Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko.
Admissions to Iowa’s casinos already had been declining. There were 17.1 million admissions to the licensed casinos in 2022, down from 17.8 million in 2021, According To A State Report. That continued a trend of declining attendance that started before the pandemic struck in 2020.
Beginning in 2013, casino gambling revenues in Iowa have increased annually with only two other exceptions: in 2019, when it dropped slightly — just 0.5 percent — from $1.463 billion to $1.457 billion, and in 2020, when the industry took a huge hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.