Dubuque’s Q Casino Plans Major Renovations, Complete By 2025

Written By Adam Hensley on January 30, 2023
Iowa's Q Casino announces major renovation plans

Major changes are coming to Dubuque’s Q Casino. Last Tuesday, the DRA Board of Directors approved the first renovation and expansion phase for the Iowa casino.

It’s been close to 15 years since the Q Casino underwent any sort of significant update. This vote marked a step in the right direction for the community. President & CEO of the DRA and Q Casino Alex Dixon said in a release:

“This is an exciting project for Q Casino, DRA and the City of Dubuque, so we look forward to making our presentation to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and getting final approval of our plans.

A lot of effort has gone into getting us to this point, but we have planned carefully and done our homework. We are now in a great position to begin transforming the old greyhound racing area into usable space, as well as refreshing and enhancing what is offered in our current casino footprint.”

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will vote on Dubuque’s renovation and expansion plans on Jan. 26.

Renovation plans for the Iowa casino in 5 phases

Plans forecast the project to be fully complete by 2025. In total, the casino property’s renovation includes five phases.

Phase one tackles a temporary casino. This will be located at the site of the former racing grandstand viewing area. Phase two includes remodeling the main casino and entertainment area. Updates include a state-of-the-art center bar and bar-top slot machines.

The third phase turns the temporary casino space into a permanent family entertainment area. Phase four outlines the construction of a new hotel, complete with a rooftop restaurant, near the Hilton Garden Inn.

The final phase of renovation tackles exterior upgrades, like updating the casino’s façade, outdoor signage and surface parking lot.

Q Casino renovation helps solidify itself among the competition

At the end of the day, officials viewed this project as a means to reinvest in the community. Dubuque wants to keep the dollars in the state.

“Our plans to refresh and enhance what is offered at the Q is an important investment that fits into a much bigger plan that goes to the heart of who we are as a city, and what we offer both citizens and visitors,” Dixon said in a statement.

So far in Fiscal Year 2023, Q Casino generated $25.7 million in adjusted gross revenue. More than 300,000 patrons entered the facility over that period, too.

Experts believe the updates to the existing casino are vital for increasing its tourism and gaming industry. In turn, those dollars generate more tax revenue for the city itself. Brian Rakestraw, Chief Operating and Finance Officer of the DRA and Q Casino, said in a release:

“Q Casino has historically played an integral role in the local economy and consistently made valuable, gaming-related payments to the City of Dubuque. However, just like any business, we must also reinvest in ourselves if we want to grow, especially as new, nearby gaming properties in Wisconsin and Illinois open up.”

Dubuque’s renovation plans include Champlain Schmitt Island

Chaplain Schmitt Island not only houses the Q Casino, but it remains a hotspot for outdoor recreation in Dubuque.

In addition to renovating the casino, plans include changes to Chaplain Schmitt Island. Island goers will eventually be able to enjoy a new outdoor amphitheater. Expect improvements to existing ballfields, enhanced trails and more river access, too.

Q Casino Chief Commercial Officer Stacy Kansky said in a release: “What we do and accomplish at the Q is the engine that helps drive and fund other future improvements on Schmitt Island, but our casino property renovation and expansion is part of a bigger puzzle.

I am excited about our plans and seeing how it all takes shape, though I am also confident the end result will prove to be a huge asset and benefit to Dubuque, the area and the state.”

There’s no concrete date for when the Champlain Schmitt Island upgrades will be complete, but a release states they will “come to fruition over the next decade.”

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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