Introduction to Iowa Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019
Iowa slot machine casino gambling consists of 16 riverboat casinos, four tribal casinos, and three pari-mutuel racetracks with slot machines.
Payout return minimum and maximum limits have been legally set for four tribal casinos, but none exist for the 19 commercial casinos. However, payout return statistics are available for these commercial casinos.
This post continues my weekly State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambler to success. Now in its third year, each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or federal district.
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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Iowa*
The minimum legal gambling age in Iowa does not depend upon the gambling activity:
- Land-Based Casinos: 21
- Poker Rooms: 21
- Bingo: 21
- Lottery: 21
- Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 21
Iowa has had a steady progress toward various forms of legalized gambling, sometimes the first state in the nation to offer them via constitutional amendments. This timeline includes:
- 1972: Games of change such as bingo and raffles
- 1983: Pari-mutuel wagering at racetracks
- 1985: State lottery
- 1989: Excursion boat gambling approved
- 1991: Riverboat gambling boats opened (first in the nation)
- 1992: Tribal-state compacts approved for tribal casinos
- 1994: Slot machines allowed at pari-mutuel wagering sites
- 2004: Permanent mooring of riverboat casinos allowed
- 2005: Many new licenses granted for new riverboat casinos
Iowa is at the forefront of the gambling industry with regards to legalized gambling. It was the first state to legalize riverboat casinos. Also, they were the first to legally allow both slot machines and table games at pari-mutuel racetrack facilities. By doing so, they created the first so-called racinos.
In mid-2017, the IRGC requested gaming market analysis studies from two independent contracting companies. These comprehensive Iowa gaming market studies became publicly available in October 2017.
The negotiated and approved tribal-state gaming compacts for Iowa’s three federally-recognized tribes is available at Indian Gaming Compacts within the Indian Affairs Division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws might apply to various forms of gaming. It is not legal advice.
Slot Machine Private Ownership in Iowa
In Iowa, it is legal to own a slot machine privately if it is 25 years of age or older.
Gaming Control Board in Iowa
The Iowa legislature created the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) with the passing of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act of May 1983. The IRGC administers this Act and the Exclusive Boat Gambling Act of 1989, which legalized riverboat casinos.
Casinos in Iowa
There are 16 riverboat casinos, four American Indian tribal casinos, and three pari-mutuel wagering racinos in Iowa.
The largest casino in Iowa is Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino with 1,682 gaming machines and 50 table games.
The second-largest casino is Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs with 1,526 gaming machines and 26 table games.
Commercial Casinos in Iowa
There are 19 commercial casinos in Iowa, including the following riverboat casinos and pari-mutuel wagering racetracks with slot machines:
- Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs located 132 miles west of Des Moines.
- Casino Queen Marquette located 131 miles northwest of Davenport near the Wisconsin border.
- Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington located 78 miles southwest of Des Moines near the Illinois border.
- Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque located 72 miles north of Davenport near the Illinois border.
- Diamond Jo Worth Casino in Northwood located 135 miles north of Des Moines near the Minnesota border.
- Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Larchwood located 291 miles northwest of Des Moines near the northwest corner of Minnesota.
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City located 200 miles northwest of Des Moines near the Nebraska border.
- Harrah’s Casino & Hotel Council Bluffs located 133 miles west of Des Moines.
- Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs, a pari-mutuel racetrack racino, located 131 miles west of Des Moines.
- Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf located 54 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids.
- Isle of Capri Casino Waterloo located 30 miles west of Des Moines.
- Lakeside Hotel Casino in Osceola located 48 miles south of Des Moines.
- Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, a pari-mutuel racetrack racino, in Altoona located 11 miles west of Des Moines.
- Q Casino, a pari-mutuel racetrack racino, in Dubuque located 73 miles north of Davenport.
- Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport.
- Riverside Casino and Golf Resort located 39 miles south of Cedar Rapids.
- Wild Rose Casino – Jefferson located 65 miles northwest of Des Moines.
- Wild Rose Casino and Resort Clinton located 37 miles northeast of Davenport near the Illinois border.
- Wild Rose Casino and Resort Emmetsburg located 165 miles northwest of Des Moines.
Tribal Casinos in Iowa
The three tribal casinos in Iowa are:
- Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa located 35 miles southeast of Sioux City near the Nebraska border.
- Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama located 64 miles northeast of Des Moines.
- WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan located 27 miles south of Sioux City near the Nebraska border.
Other Gambling Establishments
As an alternative to enjoying Iowa slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state. Bordering Iowa is:
- North: Minnesota Slots
- East: Wisconsin Slots and Illinois Slots
- South: Missouri Slots
- West: Nebraska Slots and South Dakota Slots
Each of the links above will take you to my blog for that neighboring U.S. state to Iowa.
Our Iowa Slots Facebook Group
Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Iowa? If so, join our new Iowa slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to join this closed Facebook Group freely.
There, you’ll be able to privately share your slots experiences as well as chat with players about slots gambling in Iowa. Join us!
Payout Returns in Iowa
No payout return statistics are available from Iowa’s tribal casinos. However, both minimum and maximum theoretical payout limits exist. These limits are 80% and 99%, respectively, over the expected lifetime of the device.
No legal limits exist for theoretical payout returns on slot machines for Iowa’s commercial casinos. However, the IRGC makes return statistics available at Casino Payback Percentages. This one-page PDF document provides an average payout return for each casino for the last three months.
For the last three months ending in November 2019, the highest return went to Prairie Meadows at 91.8%. This casino’s player’s win percentage was a full point higher than the next casino return. Lakeside Casino had the lowest player’s win percentage at 89.0%.
The IRGC also makes return statistics for commercial casinos available at Gaming Revenue Reports. Here, monthly hold percentages are available by both casino and slot machine denomination as Slot Revenue Percentage. Remember, convert this casino hold% to player win% by subtracting it from 100%.
Summary of Iowa Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019
Iowa slot machine casino gambling consists of 23 commercial and tribal casinos including pari-mutuel racetracks with slot machines.
Theoretical payout limits are 80% and 99% at the four tribal casinos, but no theoretical limits exist for the commercial casinos. However, monthly payout return statistics are available for each commercial casino and slot machine denomination.
Annual Progress in Iowa Slot Machine Casino Gambling
In the last year, Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel fell from the second-largest casino in Iowa to the fourth-largest. Both the Horseshoe and Ameristar casinos in Council Bluffs have surpassed Meskwaki Bingo.
Related Articles from Professor Slots
Other State-By-State Articles from Professor Slots
- Online Resource: State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series
- Previous: Indiana Slot Machine Casino Gambling
- Next: Kansas Slot Machine Casino Gambling