Iowa Casinos

Iowa casinos ensure that you can enjoy gambling in Iowa in several spots around the state. There are only a few Native American casinos in Iowa that are actually on land, and some of these are only race track and sports book facilities. The reason for this lies in the history of the state, that saw all tribes cede their lands and head west by 1851. A small band of the Fox Mesqwaki tribe returned to the state in 1856 and bought back a small parcel of land. Today this group is the only federally-recognized tribe in the state, and they operate one of the Iowa casinos and resorts on land. It is located in Tama County about halfway between Ames and Cedar Rapids. In addition to the casino with slot machines, table games, and bingo, the facility has over 400 deluxe rooms and suites, five restaurants, a spa, and swimming pool.

But, don't despair, there are many places for Iowa gambling on paddle wheel steamer riverboats on the Missouri River, the state's western border, and the Mississippi River, its eastern border. Riverboat gambling in Iowa was legalized in 1991. This was the first state to do so, and one of only six states allowing it. Originally these Iowa gambling establishments had to be on boats that could navigate, and the gambling could occur only when the ship was not docked. These regulations were gradually loosened, and after some severe hurricane seasons in the last few years, regulations were changed to allow rebuilding in permanent sites on land.

On the Missouri River, you will find these riverboat Iowa casinos in Council Bluffs and Sioux City. The Ameristar II in Council Bluffs is the only AAA Four-Diamond riverboat casino in the entire nation, and the largest Iowa gambling spot in the state. Its 37,000-square-foot casino contains more than 1,500 slot machines and 46 table games. The full-service hotel has 160 deluxe rooms and suites.

There are quite a few riverboat Iowa casinos scattered along the Mississippi River from north of Dubuque and south all the way to the border with the state of Missouri. While most of these casinos in Iowa are permanently docked at a specific location, a few actually pull up the anchor periodically for a little river cruising or relocate a bit further north or south on a seasonal basis.

An atmosphere of New Orleans jazz and Cajun culture flourishes along this stretch of the Mississippi River Valley, and much of the gambling in Iowa done on riverboats here reflects that culture. You'll find this especially on the Rhythm City and the Lady Luck, one of the Isle of Capri casinos in Iowa located on a riverboat. Its amenities include slot machines, table games, a 256-room hotel, and three restaurants. These are located in Bettendorf, a suburb of Davenport. The Rhythm City does sail on the river. Both benefit from the attractions of the region as do the ones further north. Dining venues serve Cajun-style cuisine, and jazz is reflected in the clubs and nightspots. Many of the communities even have full-blown Mardi Gras celebrations.

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