About Us » Iowa Gaming History

In 1983, Iowa legislators signed the Pari-mutuel Wagering Act into law.

On April 1, 1991, Iowa opened the first riverboat casinos in the country. The three riverboats that premiered that day were the Dubuque Casino Belle; the Diamond Lady in Bettendorf; and The President in Dubuque. They were quickly followed by the launch of the Emerald Lady in Burlington on May 10, 1991.

Since then, successful riverboats and land-based casinos have emerged across the Iowa landscape to bring billions of dollars of economic impact to the state.

For a complete history of gaming in Iowa, view the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission’s detailed chronology section. For an overview of voting referendums, click here.


Gaming tax revenue generated since 1991.

See how taxes are spent here.