Casino Gambling in Iowa

Iowa Casino Guide

Facts About Gambling & Online Casinos in Iowa

Per the Iowa Gaming Association’s 2015 Public Policy report, the number of casinos in Iowa stands at 18. These casinos are all regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. In addition to an ample number of brick and mortar casinos, Iowans are also welcome to enjoy slots, table games, video poker, and more at U.S.-friendly online casinos. The state sets aside $5 million in casino and gaming revenues and uses it to help schools within the state pay for building repairs and improvements.

History of Gambling in Iowa

Realistically, Iowa’s gambling history is relatively recent. Horse and dog racing was legalized in 1983 with Iowa’s Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act. Six years later, new bills expanded Iowans options for legal gambling by allowing riverboat casinos and simulcast races. The first of the riverboat casinos opened in 1991, but they were only allowed eight counties that won voter approval. A year later, voters opted to allow two more counties to open riverboat casinos. Per this riverboat casino law, the riverboats could not remain docked while the casino was operating, that would change in 1994, allowing riverboats to remain docked.

By 2002, residents had voted to add more counties to the riverboat gambling bill and allowing some racetracks to add casinos, again increasing the number of casinos located in Iowa. By 2010, voters in 14 counties voted for to renew licenses for casinos in their counties. With this continued support, eyes are shifting towards banning smoking in all Iowa casinos. This bill was introduced in 2015 and has become a hot topic with owners, staff, and patrons of the different casinos.

Age Restrictions for Gambling in Iowa

Players heading to casinos or racetracks in Iowa must be 21.

Iowa’s Casino Gambling Outlook

Iowa’s government has a number of gambling law amendments being considered in 2015. Among them are a bill that passed increases the number of video casino machines that restaurants can have from two to four. The more important bill relates to legalizing online casinos in Iowa. If this bill passes, Iowa’s casinos could expand and offer online casino games and potentially open online poker rooms.

Local Casinos

While the list of casinos in Iowa changes periodically, the 18 state-regulated establishments were operating in 2015. Here is a sampling of the popular casinos in Iowa.

Ameristar Casino Hotel – Situated off the I-29 in Council Bluffs, Ameristar is a riverboat casino and hotel with a 38,500-square-foot gaming floor. On this floor are more than 1,500 gaming machines, a high-limit area, and a number of table games.
Catfish Bend Casino – With an attached water park, two hotels, bowling center, spa, and arcade, everyone finds activities to keep them busy at Catfish Bend. Within the casino are more than a dozen table games, close to 700 slot machines, and a poker room.
Diamond Jo Casino – As one of Iowa’s land-based casinos, Diamond Jo Casino is a spacious casino in Dubuque. In addition to 975 slot machines, there are many table games. The casino also houses a bowling center, concert hall, and multiple restaurants.
Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel – In 2013, Harrah’s moved their riverboat casino to a land-based casino with a large amphitheater, table games, and more than 580 video slots and video poker machines.
Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs – More than 1,700 video slots impress players at Horseshoe Casino. There is also dog racing and poker in this location.
Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf – The Bettendorf location of Isle Casino brand has close to 1,000 video slots and video poker machines, plus 20 tables offering blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette.
Mystique Casino – Mystique is a greyhound park with live and simulcast races. There are also approximately 1,000 casino machines, a poker room, and table games.
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort – This expansive golf resort has 46 tables, more than 1,000 slots, shops, an 18-hole golf course, and a spa.