Iowa Gambling Watchdog Hits William Hill, PointsBet With Fines for Rule Breaches

  • Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission fined William Hill $20k for an in-person registration breach
  • PointsBet Iowa sportsbook received a $7,500 fine for not properly updating its self-exclusion list
  • Betting handle in Iowa was nearly $111.2m in June, with sportsbook revenue bypassing $8.4m
  • Iowa is popular among sportsbook operators due to its ideal taxation and regulatory requirements
letter cubes spell out penalty as hand holds a judge's gavel
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has handed out fines to sportsbook operators PointsBet and William Hill for failing to follow state gambling regulations on one occasion each. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Racing and Gaming Commission approves penalties

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has confirmed fines for sportsbook operators PointsBet and William Hill after approving the penalities during its meeting on Thursday.

a $20,000 fine after the operator mistakenly left two betting machines switched on

William Hill Race Book was hit with a $20,000 fine after the operator mistakenly left two betting machines switched on and enabled a player to use the mobile sports betting app without registering for an account in person. The incident saw the sportsbook company violate Iowa Code 99F.9(4) “a”(1).

Previously, to open an online sports betting account legally in Iowa, you had to first register at a physical sportsbook. The rule expired in January 2021 and in-person registration is no longer a requirement.

PointsBet Iowa LLC must pay $7,500 after it failed to properly update its self-exclusion list, breaching Iowa Code 99F.4(22) (Self Exclusion) as a result. A spokesperson for the operator has said that it has now made the relevant changes.

The two sportsbook operators weren’t the only parties to receive financial penalties during the meeting. The Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson got a $20,000 fine after a 20-year-old female was found to be present on the gambling floor. Allowing entry to a person under 21 at gaming premises breaches Iowa Code 99F.9(5) (Minor).

Sports betting results in June

Sportsbooks in Iowa had a good June, with handle reaching almost $111.2m for the month. Revenue for sportsbook operators jumped over 37% month-on-month to more than $8.4m, marking the seventh consecutive month that betting handle in Iowa was more than $100m. It hit its peak handle in March, reporting bets totaling $161.4m.

the seventh consecutive month that betting handle in Iowa was more than $100m

As a result of June’s sports betting revenue, the state received $568,502 in taxes from operators. The 6.75% tax rate that is in place is the lowest in the United States for sports betting, alongside Nevada.

William Hill had the biggest online betting handle for June, almost reaching $33.2m. However, it was third in terms of online revenue after making just under $1.3m from its handle. PointsBet was in sixth place for online revenue, making $283,714 off a total handle of almost $3.3m.

A popular state among operators

Despite the state gaming regulator handing out fines to the likes of William Hill and PointsBet, Iowa is a popular sports betting market among operators.

Australian-based sports gaming company BlueBet is set to make its US debut in the state after partnering with the Dubuque Racing Association. The operator chose Iowa as a launching point for numerous strategic reasons, which include an attractive taxation framework, low capital expenditure requirements, and suitable regulatory criteria.

Bally Bet was also a recent market entrant in Iowa, launching its online offering towards the end of June. Other sports betting brands that have been live in the state for some time include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, Elite, theScore, Hard Rock, and Q Sportsbook.