Introduction to Iowa Slots Return-To-Player
A big concern for slots enthusiasts is if casinos are trying to “get back their lost gaming revenue” by reducing their return-to-player (RTP). But is that true, state-by-state? Let’s look closely at the Iowa Slots Return-To-Player for their commercial casinos only.
Iowa’s Slots Industry: An Overview
Since 1972, Iowa is at the forefront of the gambling industry with regards to legalized gambling after Nevada and New Jersey. Iowa was the first state to legalize riverboat casinos and allow both slot machines and table games at pari-mutuel racetrack facilities. By doing so, they created the first “racinos”.
In 2017, the IRGC requested gaming market analysis studies from two independent contracting companies to provide comprehensive Iowa gaming market studies including Marquette Advisors and WhiteSand Gaming.
The Iowa legislature created the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) with the passing of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act of May 1983. The IRGC administers this Act and the Exclusive Boat Gambling Act of 1989, which legalized riverboat casinos.
Iowa’s Return Statistics for Slots
Iowa’s state tribal compacts with its three tribes with casinos have minimum and maximum theoretical payout limits of 80% and 99% of the amount wagered. However, Iowa’s tribal casinos do not offer return statistics.
Iowa’s commercial casinos do not have theoretical payout limits. However, the IRGC makes return statistics available, an average for the last three months, at Casino Payback Percentages.
Furthermore, under Gaming Revenue Reports, the IRGC shares casino hold percent in line item “Slot Revenue Percentage” which, when subtracted from 100%, equals the more commonly understood player win percent.
These Gaming Revenue Reports also provides return statistics by slot machine denomination each month for each commercial casino.
Monthly Player Win Percentages
The return statistics for Iowa’s nineteen commercial casinos available in the IRGC’s archives go back to calendar year 1991.
But I’ve plotted below the monthly player win percentages at Iowa casinos from the beginning of 2019 to the latest available. The gap in data is from when Iowa’s casinos closed for at least two full months as a public health response to the pandemic.
All Iowa casinos have player win percentage from about 88.5% to just over 92%, a range of around 3.5%. Most Iowa casinos are quite consistent regarding their monthly player win percentage for the last two years and more.
As a clear indication of how well casinos target their player win percentages, we can see how each casino has chosen and closely maintain their monthly return-to-player.
In the following video, I’ve highlighted the colored line for each casino, necessary given Iowa’s nineteen commercial casinos with monthly return statistics.
Further, I’ve limited the date range to 2021 and after.
I’ve also highlighted the two casinos with best and worst returns since January 2021.
The return data shows that Prairie Meadows had the highest overall return until the last few months while Lakeside usually has the lowest overall return.
Summary of Iowa Slots Return-To-Player
Iowa casinos carefully manage their player win percentage. Because returns are reported to the state of Iowa, savvy slots enthusiasts can choose casinos with better return-to-player than their competitors.
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