There are 2 large casinos in Dubuque Iowa, the Diamond Jo and the Q Casino (formally the Mystique). They are more than just places to gamble though and have other facilities on offer. In this guide you can find out the main differences between the two along with some handy tips for visiting.
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Casinos in Dubuque are 21+. Gamble responsibly.
The history of the Dubuque casinos is actually quite interesting. In 1988 casinos and gambling was legalised only on Indiana reservations. However Iowa was the first state in the USA to legalise riverboat casinos in 1991. The first riverboat casino docked in Dubuque was the Casino Belle at the Ice Harbor (close to where the National Mississippi River Museum is located). Similar riverboat casinos operated along the Mississippi River, including the Bettendorf Capri located further south in the Quad Cities (image below).
Bettendorf Capri riverboat casino docked in the Quad Cities IA
Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque Iowa
🗺301 Bell St, Dubuque, IA 52001, United States
In 1994 the Diamond Jo riverboat moved into the previous location of the Casino Belle. 2007 saw the legalisation of land-based casinos in Iowa. So in 2008 the Diamond Jo moved onto the land alongside the Ice Harbor into a giant multi-purpose venue. (Like the Diamond Jo, the Bettendorf Capri casino moved on land in 2016 and was renamed the Isle Casino Bettendorf.)
The Diamond Jo is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are over 750 slot machines, with many that have a $0.01 bet. Along with the slot machines are 20 table games which are open between 10am – 3am. These include games such as Blackjack and Roulette. A non smoking policy is in operation around the table games. On the game floor are stations with free coffee and soft drinks.
Mississippi Moon Bar
I don’t really understand slot machines and gambling but I liked the Mississippi Moon Bar. It’s located within the gaming area, so is only accessible to those over 21. The Mississippi Moon Bar holds a variety of free and paid events, from bands to comedy nights. It’s split over several levels and has different configurations depending on the event (both standing and seated areas). Tables and booth seating often has an additional surcharge and usually sell out in advance.
Cherry Lanes Bowling
Cherry Lanes bowling is located on the upper level of the casino complex. It has separate entrance so it’s accessible for all ages. There are 30 lanes altogether along with 4 VIP Lanes which are separate from the regular lanes and can hold up to 25 guests. Shoe rental is $3 and games start from $2 (depending on time and day). Fridays and Saturdays also have ‘Cosmic Bowling’ in the evenings.
Food & Drink
There are several different food and drink options. Be aware that some are located within the gaming area.
Woodfire Grille (closed Sunday and Monday) – open from 5pm (fine dining $$$)The Game sports bar (temporarily closed)The Filament – open from noonSubway – open from 11amTree Bar – drinks only, open from 9am
Upstairs and outside of the gaming area is a large conference room which can be rented for weddings, parties and more. It’s a nice space that looks out towards the Mississippi River.
A great plus with the Diamond Jo is the free parking. As well as an outside parking lot, they have a large undercover multi-storey parking garage. Each parking level has access to various casino floors. Park on the upper levels for Cherry Lanes bowling. It’s great during the winter when it might snow, as you won’t need to scrape the snow off your car and it’s slightly protected from the bitter winds!
The nearest hotel to the Diamond Jo is the Grand Harbor Resort. It’s located just across the road from the casino. It’s main feature is a large water park and children’s arcade. Many of the rooms also overlook the Mississippi River. Complimentary breakfast is available in the standard room rate.
Diamond Jo Casino from Grand Harbor Resort
Alternatively the historic Hotel Julien in the Downtown area is a 10 minute walk away.
Q Casino Dubuque Iowa
🗺1855 Greyhound Park Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001, United States
I personally prefer the Diamond Jo, however the Q Casino is the largest of the Dubuque casinos. It’s located slightly further from Downtown Dubuque on Schmitt Island. It was previously called the Dubuque Greyhound Park and Casino until 2009 when it became the Mystique Casino. In 2017 it rebranded again to the Q Casino. Originally it was part of the Dubuque Greyhound Park which opened in 1985. However it is said that 2022 will be the last season that the greyhound track will be in operation.
There are 1000 different slot machines ranging from $0.01 minimum bets, to machines with a $1 minimum. The ‘High Limit’ slots go right up to maximum bets of $25. Along with the slot machines are 23 table games, open between 9am – 2am, dedicated poker rooms and Sportsbook betting shop with TVs showing various live sporting events. Unlike the Diamond Jo, the Q Casino is open between 7am – 3am on weekdays and then 24 hours Friday – Sunday. Free soft drinks and coffee is available.
Just like the Dimond Jo, the Q Showroom is located within the gaming area, so is an over 21s music venue. They have a variety of bands and singers with mostly general admission standing only tickets available. There are often free shows on, as well as the paid events.
During the summer months, the outside Back Waters Stage sees larger music events with up to a 10,000 person capacity. Past artists include: Brantley Gilbert, Nelly and Staind to name a few. It’s also the new location for the Dubuque Oktoberfest which takes place every September.
Food & Drink
There are a couple of food and drink options at the Q Casino. The nearest is the Q Sports Bar which is open from 9am, with food served from 11am. Houlihan’s is a short walk away and is open Wednesday – Saturday from 4pm. Wow Bao is next to Houlihan’s and offers Asian street food. It’s open Wednesday – Saturday from 11am and can be ordered through Grubhub, Uber Eats or over the phone.
The Q Casino has a large free outdoor parking lot. It shares the parking area with Houlihan’s and the Hilton Garden Inn. During busy times you may need to park further away from the entrance and walk. Beware that in the summer the disgusting fish flies (also known as mayflies) are about and cover the cars when parked during the evenings.
The Hilton Garden Inn Dubuque Downtown is connected to the Q Casino via an internal walkway. There are 116 guest rooms with have amenities such as: mini fridges, microwaves, coffee makers and bath products. Plus use of an indoor swimming pool and fitness centre. However, if you don’t want to go to the ‘communal’ fitness room, the Hilton Garden Inn offer ‘Stay Fit Kits’ available to borrow from the reception desk. These include items for yoga and pilates (blocks, mats, straps) and small weights, for in-room exercising.
For other things to do in the area, check out: 40 Top Things To Do in Dubuque Iowa, Recommended By A Local!