Iowa Casinos

TYPES OF CASINOS IN IOWA

There are three types of casinos in Iowa: riverboat casinos, pari-mutuel (racetrack) casinos and Indian casinos.

Riverboat Casinos in Iowa

Iowa was the first state to legalize riverboat casino gambling. The riverboats began operating on April Fools Day in 1991 and passengers were originally limited to $5 per bet with a maximum loss of $200 per person, per cruise.

In early 1994 the Iowa legislature voted to eliminate those gambling restrictions. That same year the state also legalized casinos on moored barges that float in man-made basins of water and no longer required the casinos to be on boats. This allowed riverboat casinos to resemble land-based buildings.

As of mid-2018 there were 16 riverboat casinos in Iowa.

Pari-Mutuel (racetrack) Casinos in Iowa

Electronic gaming machines, such as slots and video poker, were legalized at three of the state’s pari-mutuel racetracks in 1994 and, in mid-2004, a provision was added to allow table games at those three tracks.

There are no casinos in Des Moines, Iowa. However, there is one racetrack casino that is close to that city. Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Altoona, is just 11 miles northeast of Des Moines.

The payback percentages on electronic gaming machines at all Iowa casinos (riverboats and pari-mutuels) are released as a matter of public record. Just click here to see a list of slot machine payback statistics for all Iowa  casinos.

Indian Casinos in Iowa

There are three Indian casinos in Iowa and all of them offer electronic gaming machines, as well as table games. No public information is available concerning the payback percentages on gaming machines at Indian casinos in Iowa. 

All Iowa casinos offer: blackjack, roulette, craps, pai gow poker, Mississippi stud, ultimate Texas hold em, slots and video poker. Some casinos in Iowa also offer: mini-baccarat, poker, pai gow poker, Caribbean stud poker, let it ride, big 6, bingo, keno, Mississippi stud, three card poker, four card poker, Spanish 21 and off-track betting. 

NOTE: If you happen to win a jackpot of $1,200 or more at any Iowa casino, they will withhold 5% of your winnings for the Iowa Department of Revenue. If you want to try and get that money refunded, you will be required to file a state income tax return and, depending on the details of your return, you may get some of the money returned to you. The $1,200 threshold would also apply to any cash prizes won in casino drawings or tournaments.

There are many casinos in Iowa with hotels. Eleven of the 16 riverboat casinos in Iowa have a hotel, all three racetrack casinos have a hotel and two out of the three Indian casinos have a hotel.

Anyone looking for casinos in Iowa on I-35 will find three close to that major highway: Diamond Jo Casino Worth in northern Iowa; Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino near Des Moines; and Lakeside Casino & Hotel in the southern end of the state.

All Iowa casinos are open 24 hours and the minimum gambling age is 21, 18 for pari-mutuel wagering or bingo.

For more information on visiting Iowa call the state’s tourism de­partment at (800) 345-4692 or visit their web site at www.traveliowa.com

Shown below is a list of casinos in Iowa. Click on a casino name to see a page of detailed information about that particular casino.

American Casino Guide