Best Casinos in Iowa

Nestled between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and some of the largest cities in the Midwest, Iowa is an off-the-beaten-path state that many consider the quintessential example of small-town Americana, immortalized in Grant Wood’s painting “American Gothic”. However, anyone who visits the Hawkeye State will soon find that there’s more to this locale than meets the eye; from roller coasters to homegrown flavors and beer hops, historic landmarks to a plethora of outdoor activities, and yes, gambling. This quaint part of the American Midwest offers an exciting range of the best land-based casinos within the U.S.

Map of Casinos In Iowa

The interactive map below shows which venues are best in terms of gambling in the Iowa area, feel free to browse and find the one that suits you. Our team at USA Online Casino has listed these locations based on customer, employee and industry reviews. The mentioned casinos offer a boatload of options for avid gaming enthusiasts to sink their hooks into the best casino games and generous bonus offerings. These listed casinos concur with the latest aggregate reviews in the range of in-casino offerings, amenities, accommodation and entertainment value. Here are the premier gambling spots for Iowa.

Top 3 Casinos In Iowa

The USA Online Casino team has examined the highest-rated gambling destinations in Iowa, and based on our insider info it is clear that the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs Iowa, Hard Rock Hotel Casino Sioux City, and the Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack and Hotel are in the group of top three casinos in the state. These venues offer a range of spectacular real money games, from table games to slots, fine dining and accommodation as well in-house bonuses, player rewards, entertainment and amenity services.

Ameristar Casino Hotel

The Ameristar Casino Hotel is located in the greater Omaha metropolitan area, just east of the Missouri River, in Council Bluffs Iowa. The Ameristar belongs to a chain of casinos owned by Pinnacle Entertainment, and its Council Bluffs property is one of Iowa’s largest casinos. This fantastic gaming establishment features a casino with 38,500 square-foot gambling floor, a AAA Four Diamond award-winning hotel featuring 160 top of the line rooms, over 5 incredible dining options, 3 bars, an entertainment venue; and a 8,000 square-foot meeting and convention space.

Hard Rock Hotel Casino Sioux City

The Hard Rock Hotel Casino Sioux City belongs to the internationally recognized Hard Rock brand, and this property features a fully integrated, state-of-the-art gambling resort, which offers over 850 of the latest slot machines and nearly 30 exciting table games, from poker to craps and blackjack. Those familiar with the iconic Hard Rock brand can expect the familiar Hard Rock Shop and music memorabilia, as well as a newly designed live-entertainment venue. The property also boast an outdoor event park with “Anthem”, the World Tour Buffet, and a host of award-winning food and beverage options. This casino also features a new, high-limit gaming option and the tasteful new Wine Bar. USA Today recently ranked this property among the “10 Best U.S. Casinos”.

Prairie Meadows Casino

Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack and Hotel is a thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack casino located in Altoona, Iowa. This impressive gambling and pari-mutuel betting complex offers an incredible variety of the most popular table games, with 21+3 Xtreme blackjack, bonus spin blackjack, roulette, craps, Pai Gow and three-card poker, mini-baccarat, Mississippi Stud, and Texas Hold’em, as well as over 1,700 hot slot machines. The gaming floor also features an award-winning High Limits Room, and the property features an incredible array of new restaurants as well as a 1,200-seat concert hall known as “The Meadows”. Players can also enjoy the Prairie Gold Rewards program in order to earn complementary points and incentives each time they play.

See All Casinos in Iowa

Gambling In Iowa

Without a doubt, Iowa is a slice of the American Midwest. The state welcomes visitors and residents alike to immerse themselves in scenic beauty, community markets, an incredible local food and beverage culture, as well as some of the very best in entertainment and gambling options in the U.S. Gambling became legal in Iowa with the introduction of riverboat casinos. Today, players can enjoy a range of exciting casino establishments that the state has to offer.

History of Gambling in Iowa

The timeline of legal gambling in Iowa starts when pari-mutuel wagering became lawful in 1983. Betting on horse and dog racing expanded beyond state lines when simulcast was introduced six years later in 1989 at racetrack venues. Currently, there are three major racetracks within the state with each property featuring a large number of casino table games and slot machines.
Iowa was the first state within the U.S. to legalize riverboat casino gambling. This took place in April of 1991. The first three riverboats that emerged were the Dubuque Casino Belle, the Diamond Lady in Bettendorf, and The President in Dubuque. Soon after the Emerald Lady in Burlington was added in May of the same year.

By 1985, Iowa established the Iowa State Lottery, which was later adapted to include inter-state games such as the PowerBall. Billions in profits are made each year from state racetracks, casinos and the lottery, and these revenue streams are donated to various charitable causes, including public works and education.

Currently, bills proposed back in 2012 and 2013 both failed to legitimize online gambling, with the tribal nations expressing interests to get in on a piece of the negotiations. As it stands, there are no laws related to online gambling, thus technically making it legal. The Iowa Gaming Association monitors mostly land-based gambling venues.

In 2014, a new bill was introduced that allowed state-regulated casinos that do not offer live racing to take bets on horse and dog races via simulcast. This broadened the already existing bill to permit the state’s greyhound tracks to stop offering live racing.

Today, players can enjoy playing their favorite table and casino games from roulette to blackjack or participate in horse and dog race betting, live or via simulcast, at many of Iowa’s tribal, riverboat and racetrack casinos.

Gambling Laws in Iowa

There are three types of casinos in Iowa: riverboat casinos, tribal casinos and racetrack casinos that involve pari-mutuel betting, otherwise known as racinos. The minimum gambling age in Iowa is 21, which includes the state lottery and similar number games that award cash prizes. Participating in the State Lottery is a popular in Iowa, with the inter-state PowerBall being among the largest.

Iowa state-law also allows for charity bingo and raffle type games, however, such venues need to be individually licensed. Of the three types of land-based casinos found in Iowa, the live poker tables at tribal and state casinos are among the most popular, which regular feature tournaments and high-limit cash games.
As far as sports betting is concerned, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to abolish the ban on nationwide sports betting, which includes basketball, football and the like, has led to a more progressive stance concerning the matter.

Iowa officials are lobbying to introduce sports betting into the state as early as next year. Although online casino gambling is not forbidden expressly, i.e. there is no law against it; this means that it is technically legal, and many Iowans do gamble within a scope of games, such as online poker, at wagering sites that offer real money casino games.

Currently, only pari-mutuel betting, such as wagering at racetracks or establishments that offer simulcast betting is allowed.

Iowa Gambling Facts

Since gambling was legalized, visitors and residents of the State of Iowa can participate in various gambling games. From the racetrack and state or tribal casinos to riverboat gambling establishments, each respective venue offers casino games such as card games like poker, pari-mutuel betting on horseracing, slots and even the apparent grey status of online gambling. Here are a few interesting facts about gambling in Iowa.


Riverboat casinos

Iowa was the first state within the U.S. to legalize casino gambling on riverboats, in 1991. The original law capped players’ bets at $5 per wager, with a loss limit set at $200 per person, per cruise. However, by 1994, these restrictions were eliminated and moored barges that floated in water could pass as riverboat casinos, which remain popular to this day, earning billions in gaming revenue throughout the decades. Currently, there are some 16 riverboat casinos within the state.

Horseracing and pari-mutuel betting

Currently, sports betting is not allowed within Iowa, but since pari-mutuel was legalized, wagering on horse and dog races remains a popular pastime. Racetrack casinos host live racing events in Iowa, but ever since state gambling laws were expanded, players now choose to participate in betting beyond state lines via simulcast.

The status of online gambling

There are no specific laws, either allowing or banning, online gambling in Iowa. In recent years, state lawmakers have tried and failed officially to pass a bill to legitimize online gambling, and to this day, the issue remain under negotiation. The state holds a progressive stance on online gambling, viewing it as a boon for the local economy from taxable gaming revenue. Regardless, its status remains unclear, and as of 2017, the Iowa Gaming Association has not confirmed progress in the matter.

All Casinos In Iowa

There are currently 22 casinos in the State of Iowa with a wide variety of gameplay for every caliber of gambler. Three of these are tribal-run casinos, with one riverboat casino in operation belonging to a federally recognized tribe. Popular card games include Pai Gow and Hold’em poker, blackjack, and table games like roulette and craps are heavily favored. From the state-run venues to Indian casinos, here is the full breakdown of land-based gambling venues within Iowa.

Blackbird Bend Casino Onawa 17214 210th Street Onawa, IA 51040 712-423-9646
Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque 301 Bell Street Dubuque, IA 52001 563-690-4800
Hard Rock Casino Sioux City Sioux City 111 3rd Street Sioux City, IA 51101 712-226-7600
Meskwaki Casino Tama 1504 305th Street Tama, IA 52339 800-728-4263
WinnaVegas Casino Resort Sloan 1500 330th Street Sloan, IA 51055 712-428-9466