The Hawkeye state is a haven for casino gambling as there are 22 casinos in Iowa. In fact, over 20 million people a year visit the state’s casinos.
These casinos range from tiny Indian casinos with only slot machines, to riverboats, to large, contemporary resorts boasting golf courses, hotels, spas, thousands of slot machines and a variety of table games like craps, and roulette.
As you can see from the map further down below, casino gambling stretches across all points of the state, from the Grand Falls Casino Resort in the far northwest part of the state to Catfish Bend Casino in the southeast corner.
Either way, nearly all of the casinos have hundreds of Vegas-style slots, real live table games, hotels, entertainment options and more. Many now have sportsbooks, as sports betting is now legal in Iowa.
Nineteen casinos in Iowa are commercial casinos (i.e. normal, privately-owned casinos regulated under the auspices of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission) while the other three are Native American casinos.
According to figures from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commissiom, over $1.5 billion is wagered legally in Iowa’s 19 commercial casinos each year.
Iowa Casino Map
(Each red dice represents one of Iowa’s 22 casinos)
Best Casinos in IA
A full list of Iowa casinos is further below, but here are the state’s six biggest casinos, based on casino floor square footage.
1) Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino – 79,860 square feet. Based on revenue, this horse track/casinos 11 miles northeast of Des Moines is the busiest casino in Iowa, accounting for just over 14% of all money gambled in the state.
In addition to being the largest casino in the state, it boasts the most slot machine/video poker machines, with just under 1,700 total.
Prairie Meadows’ line up of 41 table games include dice craps, blackjack, roulette, progressive Pai Gow, Mississippi Stud, Three-card poker and more.
In addition to the nine-table poker room, there’s horse racing, simulcast wagering, and sports betting at the William Hill Sportsbook.
You’ll also find a small hotel, four sit-down restaurants, and five quick bite options here.
2) Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel
The Tama, IA casino boasts 1,350 slot machines and video poker machines spread out among its 67,553 square foot casino floor space.
As the name implies, bingo is big here, with seating for 550 in the bingo hall. There’s also 21 table games and a ten-table poker room.
3) Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs – 59,931 square feet.
The second biggest commercial casino in Iowa is also the state’s second most popular in terms of gaming revenue. A Caesars Entertainment property, it’s the busiest of the three casinos in Council Bluffs.
Here you’ll find 1,371 slot machines, along with 50 table games, (not including the popular 18-table poker room) and a sportsbook.
The casino’s three restaurants include a Jack Binon’s Steakhouse, JB’s Café, and the Village Square Buffet.
While not technically a casino/hotel, there’s a Hilton Garden Inn attached via a walkway to the Horseshoe.
4) Riverside Casino & Golf Resort – 51,598 square feet.
Located 13 miles south of Iowa City, this golf resort has 900 slots, 29 table games, a fun 10-table poker room, sportsbook, and modest hotel.
5) Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort
Sister to the Riverside Casino, this resort near the Minnesota and South Dakota borders has 42,042 square feet of gaming floor space, in which you’ll find 727 slots, 39 table games, a sportsbook and an 8 table poker room.
There’s also 4 restaurants, an events center, and “The Falls” 18-hole golf course. Once the expansion is completed in the summer of 2020, the resort will have 160 hotel rooms and 39 space RV park.
6) Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque
Situated right in downtown Dubuque, this 42,008 square feet casino does not have a hotel, but does have close to 1,000 slot machines, 19 table games and the FanDuel Sportsbook, with 4 betting windows and 34 TV screens.
There’s also five dining options and a 30 lane bowling alley here.
Other Casinos of note
Ameristar Council Bluffs
While not among the biggest, the Ameristar Council Bluffs is Iowa’s third most popular casino (based on revenue).
The busy casino 1,537 slot machines/video poker games and 26 table games with limits up to $5,000.
The hotel has 160 rooms, meeting space, and five dining options, including the Heritage Buffet.
Hard Rock Sioux City
Being located right in town and with a virtual monopoly in Sioux City, the Hard Rock is located in an old historic warehouse.
In addition to the 54 room boutique hotel, the casino has 850 slots and 26 table games. Just three restaurants here, including the World Tour Buffet, along with three bars.
This being a Hard Rock, you know they are big on concerts, with two venues: Anthem (indoors), and the Battery Park outdoor venue.
Smallest Casino in Iowa
On the flip side, at just 16,686 square feet of casino floor space, the Wild Rose Jefferson is the smallest non-Indian casino in Iowa.
List of Casinos in Iowa
(in alphabetical order)
Blackbird Bend Casino
Casino Queen Marquette
Catfish Bend Casino- Burlington
Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque
Diamond Jo Casino Worth
Grand Falls Casino Resort
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City
Harrah’s Council Bluffs
Horseshoe Casino – Council Bluffs
Isle Casino – Bettendorf
Isle Casino – Waterloo
Lakeside Hotel & Casino
Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel
Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Rhythm City Casino
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
Wild Rose Casino & Resort – Clinton
Wild Rose Casino & Resort – Emmetsburg
Wild Rose Casino – Jefferson
Of all the casinos in IA, the Prairie Meadows has the most slot machines/video poker machines, with 1,690. The Horseshoe in Council Bluffs boasts the most table games, with 68. I believe this number counts poker tables.
One other note, I’m not counting a possible 23rd casino here due to its status being in legal limbo.
Iowa and Nebraska have filed appeals with federal courts to shut down the Prairie Flower Casino. An Indian casino opened in 2018, the small building is located just two miles north of the casinos in Council Bluffs. It has just 200 slots, and zero table games.
Casinos in Iowa with Hotels
Not all of Iowa’s casinos have hotel rooms, but here are the 18 that do, along with their room count.
Ameristar Council Bluffs – 160 rooms
Catfish Bend Casino- Burlington – 40 rooms
Grand Falls Casino & Resort – 160 rooms
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City – 54 rooms.
Harrah’s Council Bluffs – 251 rooms
Horseshoe Casino – Council Bluffs – 153 room Hilton attached via indoor walkway.
Isle Casino – Bettendorf – 514 hotel rooms.
Isle Casino – Waterloo – 168 rooms
Lakeside Hotel & Casino – 150 rooms.
Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel – 404 rooms
Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino – 168 rooms
Q Casino – 116 rooms at the attached Hilton Garden Inn
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort – 201 rooms
Rhythm City Casino – 106 rooms
Wild Rose Casino & Resort – Clinton – 66 rooms
Wild Rose Casino & Resort – Emmetsburg – 70 rooms
Wild Rose Casino – Jefferson – 74 rooms
Winnavegas Casino Resort Sloan – 78 rooms
Indian Casinos in Iowa
Iowa has three Native-American casinos, not counting the aforementioned and legally-questionable Prairie Flower Casino. In order of size, they are:
Meskwaki Bing Casino Hotel (see above)
Winnavegas Casino in Sloan – 850 slots, 9 table games, a small poker room and a bingo hall. There’s also a 900 seat concert venue and modest 78 room hotel.
Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa, IA
I couldn’t find square footage or slot/table count figures here, but just know this smaller casino 35 miles south of Sioux City won’t be confused with the Wynn or Bellagio.
More about Gambling in Iowa
* According to the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA), over $6.5 million was bet on this year’s Super Bowl
* Again, according to the IGA, casinos in Iowa generate a combined economic impact of over $1 billion dollars a year.
* Most recent figures show that Iowa casinos are responsible for over 17,000 jobs.
* Unlike with Indian casinos, in which a “casino” can include a smoky bingo hall or truck stop with a few slots, all of the corporate casinos in Iowa are decent sized, and all boast at least a few table games.
* In fact, the smallest non-Indian casino in Iowa has over 500 slot machines and 14 table games.
(By Steve Beauregard. Photos courtesy of: TravelIowa.com, and Prairie Meadows Casino)