Iowa Casino Queen Marquette Riverboat Moves To Shore

Written By Jarrett Huff on February 6, 2023
Riverboat casino in Iowa will move gaming floor to shore

It will be “land ho” for one of Iowa’s riverboat casinos, as Queen Casino & Entertainment will be bringing its Mississippi River-based casino ashore. Casino Queen Marquette received approval from the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission for a land-based site.

President and CEO of Queen Casino & Entertainment, Tom Downey said he and the company were happy with the new development:

“We’re pleased with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s decision to approve Casino Queen Marquette’s landside move. Iowa was the first state to recognize riverboat casino gambling, and we plan to honor that history by continuing to provide best-in-class gaming and entertainment at Casino Queen Marquette.”

The location of the future land-based Iowa casino will be 100 Anti Monopoly St. in Marquette. It’s the same location where the riverboat is currently. The company’s restaurant, Market Street Buffet, is also there.

What will Iowa Casino Queen Marquette look like?

The Iowa casino will come ashore to a planned 17,000-square-foot dockside facility. The company plans to add 12,000 square feet to the existing structure on the property. With that addition comes a new main entrance, dining areas and a sports bar.

As for the gaming in the casino, the plan is to have:

  • 400 slot machines
  • Two blackjack tables
  • Electronic blackjack
  • Roulette and craps among other games

The sportsbook at Casino Queen Marquette is Fubo Sportsbook.

The Casino Queen Marquette Riverboat

The 17,514-square-foot riverboat casino is a three-deck boat with over 400 slot machines and features a variety of other games. It has a snack bar, Deli & Chips, located on its third deck.

The Casino Queen Marquette first opened in Iowa in 2000 as Miss Marquette. Sodak gaming sold it to Lady Luck Gaming in 1999 for $41.67 million. Not long after, the riverboat was sold to the Isle of Capri for $47.7 million in the fall of 2000 and renamed Capri of Capri Marquette.

Isle of Capri later rebranded the boat as the Lady Luck in 2008. The boat was sold again in 2016 to Queen Casino & Entertainment.

Iowa’s riverboat casinos are few and far between

Currently, the Casino Queen Marquette is one of the last three remaining casino riverboats in Iowa. Once it moves to shore, only two riverboats will remain on the water:

  1. the Lakeside Hotel Casino on West Lake in Osceola
  2. the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs

In 1991 Iowa became the first state to legalize riverboat gambling with heavy restrictions. Bets could be a maximum of $5, and patrons could not go over $200 in losses per session. In addition, only 30% of a boat’s square footage could be a casino. And the state required it to sail rather than dock.

In 2004 the state legislature voted to allow casino buildings on moored barges in man-made basins. Previously, the state only allowed new casino buildings on boats.

Photo by Casino Queen Marquette/PlayIA
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Jarrett Huff

Jarrett Huff is a former sports editor at Northern Star Media from Wonder Lake, Illinois. Friends and family will tell you he's an NBA history nerd with a diehard passion for the Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs.

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