Gamblers are betting even more at the state's riverboat and racetrack casinos, spending a record $1.15 billion over the past 12 months, according to state records.
That's up 4.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says that between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, more than 20 million guests visited the casinos, losing an average of $57 each. The figures do not include Indian casinos, which aren't state-regulated.
A majority of the players at Iowa's casinos are from neighboring states, commission studies have shown. That means the industry is busy courting those patrons, who may be limiting travel because of high gas prices.
"Maybe they are not taking so many faraway trips, but our casinos can offer them an overnight stay and great entertainment," said Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, a casino trade group.
Much of the increase in gambling revenue can be attributed to expanded racetrack and casinos in Council Bluffs and Dubuque, and to new casino operations in Worth County and Emmetsburg, said Jack Ketterer, the commission's administrator.