USA casino guides Index
Iowa was the first US state to legalize riverboat gambling and is also home to three Native Indian casinos. The boats began operating in April 1991, and passengers were originally limited to $5 per bet with a maximum loss of $200 per person, per cruise. Because of these gambling restrictions several boats later moved to Mississippi, which offered 24-hour no-limit dockside gambling.
In September 1991 riverboats casinos began operating in the bordering state of Illinois and these boats didn’t have Iowa’s restrictive bet or loss limits. The increased competition from these boats cut deeply into the profitability of the Iowa boats and in early 1994 the Iowa legislature voted to remove the gambling restrictions.
Additionally, a provision was added to allow slot machines, but not video poker, to be placed at the state’s four pari-mutuel facilities, subject to voter approval. The slot machine provision passed in referendums in three of the four affected counties.
Admission to all Iowa riverboat casinos is free. Most boats cruise from June through October and remain dockside from November through May.
All riverboats and Indian casinos offer as standard: blackjack, roulette, craps, slots, and video poker. Some casinos also offer: mini baccarat, poker, pai gow poker, caribbean stud poker, let it ride, big 6 wheel, bingo, keno, three-card poker, and spanish 21. The minimum gambling age is 21.
For more information on Iowa call the state’s Tourism Department on (800) 345-4692.
[Jun 2003 last update]
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