Most Every Casino In Iowa Is Now Open, But At 50% Capacity

Written By Joe Boozell on June 3, 2020 - Last Updated on April 22, 2021

Monday marked the first day Iowa’s 19 commercial casinos were allowed to operate in 75 days thanks to an order signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last week. The vast majority are open as of Wednesday.

Some will open later, such as Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, which has plans to reopen on June 15. Prairie Meadows is the largest casino in the state.

While most casinos may be reopening, Reynolds’ order restricts locations to 50% capacity. Casinos also must adhere to social distancing guidelines, which means gaming positions must be either six feet apart or separated by a barrier.

The policy on masks varies by casino. Prairie Meadows, for instance, has said each guest must wear a face covering.

Which Iowa casinos are open?

Here is a list of every Iowa commercial casino and its status as of Wednesday morning.

Ameristar Casino Hotel: Open
Casino Queen Marquette
: Open
Catfish Bend Casino
: Open
Diamond Jo Casino
: Open
Diamond Jo Worth Casino
: Open
Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort
: Open
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City
: Open
Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel
: Closed indefinitely
Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs
: Open
Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf
: Open
Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo
: Open
Lakeside Hotel Casino
: Open
Prairie Meadows: Opening June 15
Q Casino: Open
Rhythm City Casino Resort: Open
Wild Rose Casino & Resort, Clinton: Open
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort: Open
Wild Rose Casino and Resort Emmetsburg: Open
Wild Rose Casino and Resort® Jefferson: Open

Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino and Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs are sister casinos both owned by Caesars Entertainment, which is why only one of them is reopening.

Health measures at casino properties

It remains to be seen how this will affect Iowa’s COVID-19 numbers, if at all. But, to their credit, casino operators appear to be taking the responsibility of cleaning and sanitizing their properties very seriously.

“Over the past two months, the entire property was deep cleaned inside and out with every surface, nook and cranny scrubbed and sanitized,” Tom Timmons, president and COO of Wild Rose Casino in Clinton, told OurQuadCities.

“We will continue this diligence after we open. When a guest is done playing a game, the slot system will use proprietary technology to notify crews that it needs to be cleaned and sanitized.”

With that said, at least seven casinos have already said they won’t open table games immediately. That includes:

  • Ameristar II Casino in Council Bluffs
  • Casino Queen in Marquette
  • Hard Rock, The Q Casino in Dubuque
  • The three Wild Rose casinos in Clinton, Emmetsburg, and Jefferson

“We’ve been diligently preparing to welcome our guests back to Rhythm City Casino Resort. The team has enhanced our already stringent cleaning regimen and placed signage to keep everyone mindful of social distancing and other CDC and Health Department guidelines,” Rhythm City Casino Resort General Manager Mo Hyder said.

Prairie Meadows reopening plan

In addition to casino games, Prairie Meadows in Des Moines announced horse racing will return to the venue on June 19. There’s even a chance it could be the first horse track in the country to welcome back fans in the stands. While there are currently about a dozen thoroughbred and quarter horse tracks holding races across the U.S., none are allowing fans in the stands.

However, Reynolds’ order allows Iowa’s tracks to welcome spectators provided they follow social distancing guidelines. Iowa Greyhound Park is another candidate to be the first horse track in the country to have fans, which we could see as early as next week.

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