Man Arrested For Unlawful Betting At Sioux City’s Hard Rock Casino

Written By Adam Hensley on December 13, 2022 - Last Updated on January 12, 2023
Hard Rock Casino in Iowa man arrested fraud

Police arrested Dajo Grandberry after he attempted to have someone else claim a jackpot he won. This happened at the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City earlier this year. Officials charged Grandberry with unlawful betting and solicitation at an Iowa casino.

What exactly happened at the casino in Iowa?

On Aug. 7, cameras showed Grandberry winning a slot machine jackpot at 8:40 a.m. Then, cameras picked up Grandberry leading another man up to the machine he just hit a jackpot on. From there, the second man claimed he won the jackpot.

From there, Hard Rock casino security talked with Grandberry. Grandberry allegedly admitted to security that he owed money to the state of Iowa and owned up to his fraud. He wanted the other man to claim his jackpot so he wouldn’t have to pay the state what he owed.

Staff informed both individuals that the one man claiming Grandberry’s jackpot was a felony offense. Sioux City’s Hard Rock Casino subsequently banned the two men. Grandberry still collected his jackpot.

The jackpot was eventually processed under Grandberry’s name. Officials took Grandberry to the Woodbury County Jail. He’s held at a $10,000 bond with an arraignment scheduled for Dec. 14.

Iowa automatically collects debts from certain payouts

A 2011 change in Iowa law made it so the state collects outstanding debts from winnings starting at $1,200. The Iowa Courts’ website says:

“Anyone with lottery, casino, or racetrack winnings of at least $1,200 is checked before payout to determine if the person has outstanding debt owed to the State of Iowa, including court debt. If debt is owed, the Department of Administrative Services recovers the money through the Income Tax and Vender Offset Program.”

Gambling, casino and racetrack employees must enter the winner’s name in an Iowa database to check for outstanding debts. Those debts include child support, court fees and income taxes.

Something similar happened in Indiana earlier this year

Back in May, an Indiana man won a slot jackpot at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Indiana. He asked a woman to collect the winnings for him, which led to his arrest.

Much like Grandberry, who owed money to the state, Billy Butler owed $48,000 in child support. He won an undisclosed amount playing a table game earlier that same day but didn’t take any of the winnings due to his debt.

Butler didn’t want his slot winnings going toward those child support payments. Officials charged the man with cheating at gaming, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and possession of cocaine.

What to know about the Sioux City Hard Rock Casino

The Sioux City casino came under new management last month.

Churchill Downs Incorporated now owns the Hard Rock Casino located on the Iowa-Nebraska border, thanks to the New York State Gaming Commission. Churchill Downs, best known for its ownership of the Kentucky Derby, purchased the Sioux City casino and two other casinos as part of a deal with Peninsular Pacific Entertainment.

The final acquisition cost totaled $2.75 billion.

Churchill Downs originally set out to sell the Hard Rock Sioux City casino to a third party and then lease it back to run the casino. But in the end, the group opted to maintain the property.

The Hard Rock Casino, located at 111 Third St. in Sioux City, will keep its existing branding. 639 slots, 20 table games and a 54-room hotel called the Sioux City facility home.

The Hard Rock is one of Iowa’s popular casinos, toppling close to $7.3 million in adjusted gross revenue for November.

Photo by PlayIA
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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