DRA announces new name for ice arena, discusses casino developments

Dubuque casinos’ gaming revenues decrease slightly

Gaming revenue at Dubuque’s casinos decreased slightly in July.

Diamond Jo Casino and Q Casino reported a combined $11.06 million in gaming revenue in July, down about 3% from the July 2022 total of $11.41 million.

Diamond Jo reported $6.68 million in gaming revenue in July, a slight decrease from $6.78 million in the same period the previous year.

Q Casino generated

$4.38 million in gaming revenue in July, down a bit from $4.64 million in July 2022.

The nonprofit license holder for Dubuque’s casinos provided several development updates on Tuesday and unveiled a new name for the ice arena on Chaplain Schmitt Island.

Among the updates discussed at Tuesday’s monthly DRA meeting at Q Casino was a five-year, $500,000 naming rights agreement with ImOn Communications for the arena, which is now called ImOn Arena. The Dubuque City Council unanimously approved the agreement and new name at its meeting Monday night.

“We’re thrilled to announce this new partnership with ImOn Communications,” said Stacy Kansky, Q Casino chief commercial officer, at the council meeting. “…We’re working on the rollout and branding and looking ahead at planning some great community events to celebrate.”

As part of an agreement with the city, Schmitt Island Development Corp. — a nonprofit created earlier this year to oversee Schmitt Island development — will continue to manage the ice arena. The nonprofit will work with DRA, which oversees the arena’s daily operations.

“We hope to have the initial branding (for ImOn Arena) in the first phase by the time the (Dubuque Fighting) Saints have their first home opener at the end of September,” Kansky said.

DRA officials also shared and granted approval of several other development elements.

Board members approved the budget for phase one of new developments at Q Casino.

“The overall project is still expected to be about $80 million, with phase one about $37 million,” said Brian Rakestraw, Q Casino chief operating and finance officer.

Phase one includes constructing a temporary casino in the facility’s upper level in the former greyhound racing grandstand viewing area, as well as renovating the lower level of the main casino. Officials expect gaming equipment will be moved into the temporary casino space later this year.

In addition to looking ahead, DRA officials also lauded the weekend that was. Sunday’s Back Waters Stage concert with headliner Jelly Roll sold out in two days with nearly 7,000 tickets sold.

“It was one of the best shows, I think, we’ve ever experienced here in Dubuque,” Rakestraw said. “Everyone had a great time. … Shows like this bring not only a lot of people to our property, but (to) other hotels and restaurants in the area.”

Alex Dixon, president and CEO of Q Casino and DRA, also praised the work done by everyone involved with putting on Sunday’s concert.

He noted that plans to build an over-$15 million outdoor amphitheater on the former greyhound racing track will free up the parking lot space where Back Waters Stage concerts currently take place.

“It was a risk for the hottest name in country now to make a stop here,” he said. “We were the smallest venue of a tour that plays arenas. … The more and more Dubuque lands on these names and stops — and people are seeing we really can sell thousands of tickets — we’re going to be able to fill (the amphitheater).”