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Major events in Iowa gaming history


The Iowa Legislature passes the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act


Dubuque Greyhound Park opens in June
The Lottery begins ticket sales in August
Horse racing at several fairgrounds locations begins


Iowa LOTTO is launched
In February, Bluffs Run is the second Greyhound track to open
Waterloo Greyhound Park opens in October


The Lottery is one of the founding members of the Multi-State Lottery Association
The Lottery begins selling pulltabs


Lotto America is launched
Last year of horse racing at fairgrounds locations


Prairie Meadows opens in March
Simulcasting is authorized
Riverboat gaming legislation is passed and approved by referendum in several counties


 In April, the Dubuque Casino Belle, the Diamond Lady (Bettendorf) and the President (Davenport) riverboats were the first to open
The Emerald Lady (Burlington/Ft. Madison/Keokuk) opens in May
The Mississippi Belle II (Clinton) opens in June
Prairie Meadows files for bankruptcy and fails to hold a live meeting in 1992


Powerball replaces Lotto America in April
Three tribal casinos open after Class III compacts are signed: the WinnaVegas Casino in April, the CasinOmaha in June and the Meskwaki Bingo and Casino in December
The Diamond Lady and the Emerald Lady cease operations in July


The Sioux City Sue riverboat opens in January
The Dubuque Casino Belle ceases operations in March
Prairie Meadows emerges from bankruptcy and reopens for live racing


The Catfish Bend Casino (Burlington/Ft. Madison) opens in November
Significant legislation removes limits on casino games, authorizes slot machines at racetracks and allows dockside gaming, all subject to local referendums    
The Miss Marquette (now Lady Luck) and Belle of Sioux City open in December, the latter replacing the Sioux City Sue


The Lady Luck (now Isle Casino Hotel) opens in Bettendorf in April
In March, Bluffs Run is the first racetrack to open a casino
Prairie Meadows opens its casino in April
Dubuque Greyhound Park opens its casino in November


In January, Harveys Casino Hotel and Ameristar Casino open in Council Bluffs
Waterloo Greyhound Park closes in March after failing to get a favorable county gaming vote in two attempts


The Lakeside Casino Resort (now Terrible’s Lakeside) opens in January


The Lottery begins testing Touch Play video pulltab machines in May


Legislation authorizes table games at racetracks; Prairie Meadows is the first to add the games in December


The Diamond Jo Worth (Northwood) opens in April, the Wild Rose Emmetsburg in May and the Riverside Casino in August
Horseshoe Casino/Bluffs Run Greyhound and Dubuque Greyhound Park (now Mystique Casino) add table games in March
The Lottery's Touch Play machines are banned and removed from service in May


New legislation authorizes casinos to be built entirely on land
The Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo opens in June


CasinOmaha closes in June


CasinOmaha reopens in October


The Grand Falls Casino Resort opens in June
CasinOmaha closes in June due to flooding


Blackbird Bend Casino, a replacement for CasinOmaha, opens in January


Argosy Sioux City closes July 30; Hard Rock Sioux City opens August 1
The Lottery launches MONOPOLY Millionaires' Club with 22 other lotteries on October 19; the game was discontinued in December


Wild Rose Casino opens in Jefferson in July
Live greyhound racing and simulcasting ends in December at Bluffs Run Greyhound Park; the Horseshoe casino remains open


The Lottery launches the multi-state game Lucky for Life in January
In November, the Lottery introduces InstaPlay games


Mystique Casino changes its name to Q Casino in March


Casinos and casino-style gaming

Iowa was the first state to launch riverboat casinos when the first boats began operating in April 1991. In 2007, legislation authorized entirely land-based casinos. There are currently 17 casinos operating.

Ameristar Casino, Council Bluffs – 1,507 slots, 24 tables
Catfish Bend Casino, Burlington – 607 slots, 25 tables
Diamond Jo, Dubuque – 943 slots, 20 tables
Diamond Jo Worth, Northwood – 951 slots, 31 tables
Grand Falls Casino Resort
, Larchwood – 778 slots, 35 tables
Hard Rock Sioux City – 840 slots, 29 tables
Harrahs Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel – 543 slots, 22 tables
Horseshoe Council Bluffs– 1,376 slots, 69 tables
Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf – 971 slots, 21 tables
Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo – 944 slots, 29 tables
Lady Luck Casino Marquette – 532 slots, 8 tables
Lakeside Casino, Osceola – 641 slots, 13 tables
Rhythm City Casino, Davenport – 789 slots, 31 tables
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort – 970 slots, 48 tables
Wild Rose Casino & Resorts, Emmetsburg – 486 slots, 11 tables
Wild Rose Casino & Resorts, Clinton – 561 slots, 11 tables
Wild Rose Casino & Resorts, Jefferson – 508 slots, 13 tables

Racetracks are also allowed to offer slot machines and table games. Slot machines were installed in 1995 and table games were added beginning in December 2004. Bluffs Run Greyhound Park closed for good in December 2015, but the Horseshoe Casino on the property remains open.
Q Casino, Dubuque – 823 slots, 22 tables
Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino – 1,920 slots, 49 tables

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
717 East Court, Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone (515) 281-7352
Fax (515) 242-6560


Tribal gaming

Three tribes have Class III gaming compacts and each operates one casino.

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska – Blackbird Bend Casino
Sac & Fox Tribe of Mississippi in Iowa – Meskwaki Bingo, Casino, Hotel
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska – WinnaVegas Casino

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals has oversight of the tribal gaming compacts.

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0083
Phone (515) 281-5457



The Iowa Lottery was launched on August 22, 1985. The current game offerings include instant tickets, pulltabs, Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto Sizzler, All or Nothing, Lucky for Life, Pick 3,Pick 4 and InstaPlay (instant play style games generated through the lottery's terminal system).

The majority of the Lottery’s proceeds help a variety of significant projects through the Iowa General Fund; additional revenues provide support for veterans programs and funding for Vision Iowa, whichs create tourism destinations in the state, assists with community attractions and builds and repairs schools.

Iowa Lottery
2323 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
Phone (515) 725-7900 


Pari-mutuel facilities

There are currently two licensed race tracks in Iowa, offering live racing and simulcasting. Each track also offers slot machines and table games. Bluffs Run Greyhound Park closed at the end of 2015 (the casino remains open).

Iowa Greyhound Park at Dubuque (Q Casino)
1855 Greyhound Park Drive
P.O. Box 3190
Dubuque, IA 52004-3190

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino
One Prairie Meadows Drive
P.O. Box 1000
Altoona, IA 50009-0901

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
717 East Court, Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone (515) 281-7352
Fax (515) 242-6560


Charitable gaming

The Social and Charitable Gambling Unit regulates and licenses amusement games, contests, casino nights, games of skill and chance, bingo operations, raffles and social gambling activities. Most of the licenses are available only to non-profit, qualified organizations that dedicate the net receipts from a gambling activity to an educational, civic, public, charitable, patriotic or religious purpose.

Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals
Social and Charitable Gambling Program
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0083
Phone (515) 281-6848
Fax (515) 281-3291


Last updated on April 23, 2017