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August report indicates sports betting, other Iowa game revenues rebounding

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Greyhound race
Q Casino hosts a greyhound race from Florida

DUBUQUE, Iowa. (KWWL) -- New data out from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission indicating sports betting, legalized in Iowa just last year, is helping casinos rebound from COVID-19.

Across Iowa, over $50 million in total wagers were placed in the month of August 2020, according to the Commission. That's up by about $22 million from the previous month.

The report predicts a coming rebound in revenue for casinos. Revenue climbed 33%, with a total greater than $3 million for the first time since January.

Ever since it was legalized, "sports-betting" revenues generally climbed as time went on, then dropped off during lock-downs.

“If the NFL and college football can maintain their planned schedules moving forward, then Iowa will easily hit an all-time high in sports betting handle in September, surpassing $59 million set in November 2019," said Max Bichsel, an industry expert at


Jean Hallahan helps manage Q Casino's Iowa Greyhound Park. She says that the gaming industry as a whole is starting to look up, after dismal returns due to COVID-19.

As changing appetites prompt other greyhound race-tracks to close, she's welcoming folks driving from all over the U.S.

She has welcomed guests from "Wisconsin, Chicago area, we had a couple come up from Kansas City," said Hallahan.

Iowa Greyhound Park reopened to the public after spacing out seating and placing floor markings to help ensure social distancing.

Races from elsewhere are shown on TV's at Q Casino. Willing betters can bet remotely, in-person at Dubuque's casino. Likewise, the facility also broadcasts Dubuque greyhound races to other gaming hubs all over the world via license agreements.

Since the relationship works both ways like this, Hallahan says global bets make their way into local books, in turn bolstering gaming taxes paid to cities, counties and the state of Iowa.

Hallahan says that so far, even with COVID-19, they're on pace to make about 20% more than the track did just last year.

AJ Capuano

Dubuque bureau reporter, KWWL

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