Casino manager expects sports betting to increase this month

A casino manager and a financial expert talk about sports betting and how to be responsible during March Madness.

JEFFERSON, Iowa — With March Madness starting this week, the general manager of a central Iowa casino said sports betting will soon resume, especially with two Iowa teams playing in the NCAA tournament.

Travis Devorak, managing director of Wild Rose Casino & Resort, told Local 5 that since sports betting became legal in 2019, the total amount wagered has slowly increased.

“It seems like every month we hit a peak month, and I think people are getting more and more comfortable with that.”

In January, his casino earned $1,261,844.78 from sports betting. Last month, that amount rose to $1,470,086.73.

But he expects the Iowa teams to play, he expects those numbers to go up even more. This is largely due to a more family-like spirit, new people betting, and its casino offering sports betting across multiple apps.

“We have three mobile apps,” Devorak said. “With DraftKings, BetRivers and Circa.”

Tom Coates, the president of Consumer Credit of Des Moines, worries that more Iowans will spend too much money on betting this month. He thinks this will mainly affect young men, especially those who borrow against their credit cards for cash advances, to place bets.

But Coates noted that overspending can be avoided.

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“You can set parameters for yourself,” he said. “I’m not going to spend more than $50 a month. I’m not going to spend more than $100 a month.”

Devorak said if anyone feels like they’re spending too much money, his casino has flayers posted around to offer help.

“If you think you’ve played too much, you can ban yourself,” Devorak said. “Come to our property and get out or you can go to the app and get out of the app.”

Devorak said that once a person talks to the casino about their gambling problems and decides to ban themselves, that person is banned from gambling in their casino for five years.

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