Casinos in Iowa report record revenue in FY2022

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 2:44 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa casinos posted record profits in fiscal 2022, even as Governor Kim Reynolds and Republicans in the legislature cited “gambling fatigue” while placing a moratorium on any new casinos in the state.

In all, Iowa casinos reported $1.76 billion in gross revenue for traditional casino games and slots and an additional $139 million in sports wagering, both records.

The record revenue coincided with a rise in visits to Iowa casinos compared to the previous year. Casinos reported 17.8 million admissions to the state’s 19 casinos - up from 16.4 million visits the year before. That’s still well below the high point of 22 million visitors in 2012.

The internet fueled growth for sports wagering in Iowa as the state made it easier to open an online sports betting account starting in 2021. In-person sports betting rose modestly in FY 2022 from a handle, or total amount wagered, going from $233 million in FY2021 to $243 million in FY2022. However, online sports betting handle more than doubled - from $985 million in FY 2021 to $2.2 billion this past year.

The record profits come even as Iowa leaders cited “gambling fatigue” in passing a moratorium on opening any new casino in the state for the next two years. Republicans in the legislature hastily passed the moratorium near the end of this past legislative session and Gov. Kim Reynolds signed it weeks later.

That ban came under political pressure from the gaming industry in response to a renewed push for a Linn County Casino. Cedar Rapids and Linn County leaders had developed a proposal for a new casino on the west side of the Cedar River from downtown in an area where Cooper’s Mill used to stand. Developers had begun the process for approval from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission when lawmakers put the moratorium in place.

Existing casinos have opposed plans for a Cedar Rapids casino, citing the potential loss of revenue for nearby casinos, particularly Riverside Casino and the Isle Casino in Waterloo. Both of those casinos posted record high revenue in FY 2022. Riverside’s revenue rose 10% to $128 million, while the Isle in Waterloo reported $101 million in revenue, a 14% increase. Those numbers do not include revenue from sports gambling.

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