Lottery Sales Competing With Sports Betting In Iowa

  • Iowa’s state lottery is on pace to match a record-setting 2021.
  • However, they have fallen behind sports betting by nearly an order of magnitude.
  • Lotto bosses are confident they can remain a positive force for the state.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa’s state lottery has been holding strong even as Iowans have been introduced to state-regulated sports betting.

Some feared that the introduction of sports betting would cannibalize some of Iowa’s burgeoning lottery market, but new numbers indicate that this is not the case.

Iowa lottery sales are averaging $1.1 million a week, which is on-pace to match or exceed the 2021 fiscal year, which was record breaking for Iowa’s lottery sales.

That said, sports betting in Iowa has clearly taken up a large portion of the market share - it accounts for almost $10 million a day.

November saw $287 million in sports betting handle in Iowa, which averages out to about $9.6 million in handle per day.

December could be bigger, as more attention is paid to the NFL and College Football bowl season approaches, or it could be slightly smaller, but it is expected to be in the same range.

Iowa Lottery Adapting To New Betting Landscape

Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Officer Matt Strawn noted that his organization would need to adapt to a post-sports betting world, and make sure they hung on to the market share they had.

“We need to be increasingly nimble and able to respond so we can deliver on the Lottery promise to those good causes that we support,” said Strawn.

Intriguingly, Strawn pointed to the lottery as somewhat inflation-proof, given that the prices of tickets remain static even as the value of a dollar decreases.

“A $5 Iowa Lottery scratch ticket still is a $5 scratch ticket,” said Strawn. “And it still only costs $2 for a chance at a life-changing Powerball jackpot prize.”

However, Strawn does not expect the current pace to continue, citing 2021’s enormous Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots.

Two of the biggest jackpots in lottery history were up for grabs in 2021, and without those as incentives, Strawn expects 2022 to fall off of 2021’s historic pace as the second half of the fiscal year approaches.

The Iowa Lottery might not be the only game in town anymore, and with Iowa sports betting’s success, it certainly isn’t the biggest.

However, it still should be able to carve out a reasonable niche for itself in the gambling market, and perhaps even continue to exceed expectations.

In the first five months of Fiscal Year 2022, the Lottery has deposited more than $40 million into the coffers of the state, a wild success.