The lack of in-person registration requirements buoyed Iowa sportsbooks throughout the month of February, continuing a familiar theme as the year progresses.

The Hawkeye State took in almost $144m in bets in February and took in more bets per day than in the state’s history, even as the state’s month-over-month handle fell from the prior month’s surge

“Iowa remains perhaps the most compelling case study yet on the effects of in-person registration requirements,” said Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayIA.com

“February is a short month with only one NFL game to bet on, the Super Bowl, so the relatively flat month-over-month results can be misleading on the surface. 

“But another strong showing still places Iowa in a class of states that are either larger or have far more mature gaming markets. And that would not be possible under the old requirements.”

Online and retail sportsbooks generated $143.6m in wagers in February, which is down 3.9 per cent from the record $149.5m handle in January.

However, betting per day in the 28 days of the month was a record $5.1m, which is up from the $4.8m per day bet in the 31 days of January. This pushed Iowa’s lifetime handle to $1.1 billion.

Online sports betting accounted for $143.6m, or 87.2 per cent, of the state’s overall handle, with William Hill, and its multiple licence partners, retaking the market the lead. Retail betting generated $18.4m, down from $28.8m.

Net receipts for sportsbooks fell 32 per cent month over month, to $7.7m from $11.3m, with the revenue performance yielding $520,444 in state taxes.

The two-month surge is largely aligned to the removal of in-person registration requirements in January, with FanDuel reporting that new customer registrations multiplied almost sevenfold from December to January as a result.

“When local teams enjoy strong seasons, as both Iowa and Drake are, interest in betting on their games goes up. We see that in every regulated sports betting market in the US,” noted Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayIA.com

“With March Madness on the horizon, more growth almost certainly lies ahead. And sportsbooks should get an even bigger boost if Iowa or Drake can manage a prolonged run in the NCAA tournament.”