Casinos in Iowa


The Hawkeye State may be synonymous with many things, but gambling is usually not one of them. Despite this, playing games of chance for money and betting on sports have a long-standing tradition in Iowa dating back to the 1800s. During this era, similar to many other Midwestern territories, watercrafts designed to host gaming activities were widespread hospitality venues in the state, a trend that carried over to the 20th century. In 1989, Iowa became the first US region to legalize gambling riverboats. It was also the fourth state to allow commercial brick-and-mortar establishments, following New Jersey, Nevada, and South Dakota. Tribal casinos have existed on Iowan soil since 1992, with four such locales currently active, alongside nineteen state-licensed gaming locations.

Thus, there is no shortage of options for those that wish to test their luck on slots and table classics like blackjack and roulette in Iowa. Note that roulette can also be played online, the same as pretty much any gaming product found at land-based casinos. Yet, those that do not wish to gamble via their smartphone, and want to take in some authentic betting action in a glamourous setting, should consider making the drive to the four spots in Iowa listed below.

Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs

Docked at 2200 River Road in Council Bluffs, the Ameristar Casino is a 272-foot-long and 98-foot-wide vessel boasting a gaming floor that stretches 38,500 square feet. It is home to over 1,500 slots and twenty-three table games. The Ameristar four-star hotel offers 160 luxurious rooms that provide panoramic views of the Missouri River. Near it is the Dodge Riverside Golf Club. The dining choices here consist of Bella’s Bakery & Café, Bourbon’s BBQ & Steaks, the Heritage Buffet, and Double Down Dogs. Attractions close to the Ameristar Casino include the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Lake Manawa State Park, and the Lewis and Clark Monument.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City

The proposal to open a Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City got announced in late-2012. The venue opened its doors two years later, at 111 3rd Street in the downtown area. The casino also features an adjacent triple-A Four-Diamond hotel with fifty-four rooms. The Hard Rock’s gaming area covers 45,000 square feet providing more than six hundred reel-spinners and twenty-six table games. Its working hours are from 7 AM to 4 AM. However, on weekends and select holidays, it can operate 24/7. According to most reviews, the Fuel American Grill is most visitors’ favorite place to eat at the Hard Rock, with the World Tour Buffet being a close second. Famous musical and stand-up acts frequently perform at the property’s two live venues, so there is no reason to leave the Hard Rock Casino searching for live entertainment.

Riverside Casino & Golf Resort

Located in Riverside, of Highway 218, the Riverside Casino is easily accessible from St. Louis, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Chicago. The Washington County Riverboat Foundation is the license holder of this property, an entity operated by the Kehl Family (Elite Casino Resorts). Riverside consists of a two-hundred-room hotel, a spa, event center, golf course, show lounge, and of course, a casino. The latter supplies gambling excitement via its 58,000 square foot floor that houses over one thousand slots, thirty-five game tables, and fourteen poker ones. The Ripple Diner is a casual eatery that most average spenders prefer to visit, while Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood serves up fancier meats at Riverside Casino. The property’s show lounge offers free live entertainment. Trekkies that come to the Riverside Resort may want to take a break from their gambling fun and drive a mile to 361 1st Street to enjoy the Star Trek Voyage Home Museum.

Rhythm City Casino Resort

Elite Casino Resorts owns and operates the Rhythm Casino in Davenport on 7077 Elmore Avenue. It is adjacent to the intersection of interstates I-74 and I-80, beginning its operation as a riverboat casino in 1991. Yet, it transitioned to a land-based site in North Davenport in 2016, adding Robert’s Buffet, the Draft Day Sports Lounge, and Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood to its hospitality arsenal. It also has a full-service spa and an event center that seats 1,500 people. Gambling here occurs on a 34,000 square-foot floor that focuses mainly on reel-spinning games and poker action. It has eight tables that feature Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo cash games. Within two miles of this destination, its visitors can find the Figge Art Museum and the Vander Veer Botanical Park.

To Wrap Up

If these four establishments do not seem appealing, casino enthusiasts are free to try other Iowa venues. The Meskwaki Casino in Tama, the Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa, and the WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan are other premium choices.

About the Author

Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.