Blackbird Bend Casino is a tribal casino in Onawa, south of Sioux City. It lies on a piece of land named after a famous Omaha Tribe chief, Blackbird, which is how it got its name.
Blackbird Bend Casino is a modern gambling facility, with a casino floor spanning 6,800 square feet. Here, you can find around 400 slot and video poker machines and multiple table and electronic games.
You can expect a Las Vegas-style experience at Blackbird Bend. There is an event center that regularly hosts concerts and a variety of other shows. Guests can also rent the space for their meetings, trade shows, VIP dinners or any other type of conference.
There also is a full-service bar on the casino floor and an upscale restaurant and cafe.
After sports betting became legal in Iowa in 2019, tribal casinos such as Blackbird Bend began preparing to launch retail sportsbooks in their facilities. The Blackbird Bend Casino has been working closely with the Omaha Tribal Gaming Commission to launch a smaller sports betting operation, such as betting kiosks, rather than a full-scale sports wagering parlor.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily delayed Blackbird Bend’s plans, and we have yet to see how the casino will respond to these new circumstances.
With its 6,800-square-foot casino floor, Blackbird Bend Casino is by no means the biggest tribal casino in the area.
Still, it has a quality selection of gambling machines, such as slots and video poker, with more than 400 titles from leading casino content providers, such as Aristocrat, IGT, Dragon Gaming and WMS.
The machines come in various denominations and are regularly replenished with new releases. In 2019, Blackbird Bend added at least 26 new machines.
The slot machines are not the only option in the facility. In fact, you can find eight table games, ranging from roulette and blackjack to heads-up poker variants and pai gow. To add more variety, the casino has included a number of electronic table games and the famed Game King Multi-Game machine, which allows the patrons to play blackjack, poker, keno and slots on a single machine.
Also, a newly built bingo hall is next to the casino floor, where you can enjoy traditional and electronic bingo games.
Another characteristic of Blackbird Bend Casino is its fantastic selection of promotions. Some of the current Blackbird Bend Casino promotions are:
Slot machines have always been players’ favorites, and Blackbird Bend Casino has made sure its customers have a few reasons to be happy about its slots selection.
The casino is home to 430 slots of various denominations, ranging from a penny to quarter and dollar machines. Among them, you’ll find some famous titles, such as the Lock It Link series, The Walking Dead, Buffalo Stampede, The Simpsons, Choy Coin Doa and Mustang Money.
At Blackbird Bend Casino, you’ll also find plenty of slots with local progressive jackpots, where you can win prizes worth thousands for as little as one credit.
Blackbird Bend’s table games are slightly limited in terms of the sheer numbers. Still, that doesn’t mean the tables on the casino floor lack diversity. On the contrary, all the games are versions of the most famous casino games, such as blackjack, roulette and poker. The list also includes some special varieties of these games, with extra bets and other distinct features:
During the entire construction process, the casino directed significant funds toward building a new bingo hall where the raceway used to be. The bingo hall is available to all patrons 18 years and older, and it features top-of-the-line bingo games in their traditional form. You’ll also find modern electronic variants.
Blackbird Bend Casino has an impressive loyalty program available to all regular patrons.
Right away, all newly registered members of the program can get $15 in free play, one free beer and a $5 meal discount. There is also another $30 free play bonus waiting for those who return at least once a week during the first three weeks of their membership.
Apart from free play, the loyalty program members can earn bonus entries to special contests and promotions, discounted or free meals and other perks. The more you play, the faster you can accumulate points and exchange them for these prizes or merchandise in the casino’s gift shop.
Regrettably, there’s no dedicated poker room at Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa, IA. Still, you can enjoy some poker action at the Ultimate Texas Hold’em table, where you can go against the dealer rather than against other players.
With the addition of seven-card stud and progressive Texas Hold’em, it could be only a matter of time before the casino opens an actual poker room.
Blackbird Bend Casino is one of two tribal casinos in Iowa looking to launch a sportsbook similar to those at their state-licensed counterparts. However, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has prepared a special set of conditions tribal casinos need to meet before running a sportsbook.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has halted Blackbird Bend’s efforts to get the sportsbook up and running in the first quarter of 2021. Still, we can expect to see all major betting markets available — from the NBA, NFL and NHL to MLB, golf, tennis and many others — for Iowa bettors to explore. The choice of wagers will undoubtedly include moneyline bets, props and futures, among others.
The casino also offers more than just slots and table games to its customers. If you’re planning a visit, consider the following:
Unfortunately, Blackbird Bend Casino does not feature any accommodations on the premises. However, there are still some options close by.
One such option is the Americas Best Value Inn Onawa, located off Interstate 29 and Highway 175, four minutes from the casino. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and 32-inch flat-screen satellite TVs, free parking and complimentary coffee in the lobby. The rooms come at affordable prices and are suitable for solo travelers and families.
Blackbird Bend Casino is no stranger to good parties. Namely, its event center has hosted some big names from the music and entertainment business. Naturally, visitors can also book the space for meetings, conferences and other types of social events. The full-service bar offers food and drinks, so you have everything you need for hosting a wedding reception or any promotional event.
If you are craving entrees, sandwiches and burgers, the Upstream at Blackbird is the restaurant for you. Its menu includes dishes such as sirloin steak, jumbo shrimp, catfish fillets, roasted chicken, biscuits and gravy and waffles. The Upstream, which is open every day of the week, will be your go-to destination while playing at the casino.
Blackbird Bend Casino has a history dating back to 1992 when the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa opened CasinOmaha.
The casino has been revamped and restructured on several occasions, especially after the Missouri River flooded in 2011, when most of the casino was heavily damaged. Even though the property had a 10-foot berm around it, the water, which came from heavy rainfall in May and June, could not be stopped, and more than a foot of floodwater entered the casino floor.
Still, the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa did not want to give up on the casino, which is why a temporary site reopened in 2013 in one of the sections of the flooded building. It was opened under its current name — Blackbird Bend Casino.
In 2014, a new $11 million Blackbird Bend Casino saw the light of day, and it has remained one of the area’s most-visited casinos.