Dubuque casinos report slight decrease in gaming revenue at start of year

Dubuque’s casinos reported a slight decrease in gaming revenue at the start of this year compared to the same period in 2021.

Diamond Jo Casino and Q Casino reported a combined $9.3 million in gaming revenue in January, down 4% from the January 2021 total of $9.7 million.

Diamond Jo reported $5.5 million in gaming revenue last month, a dip from $5.7 million in January 2021.

Q Casino generated more than $3.8 million in January, down from more than $4 million in the same period the previous year.

The numbers were discussed Tuesday at a Dubuque Racing Association Board of Directors meeting. The DRA is the nonprofit license holder for both Dubuque casinos.

“This has been a great month in January,” Alex Dixon, president and CEO of Q Casino, said at the meeting. “January had a couple of days impacted by snow, but we’ll have a great opportunity in February.”

Q Casino reported a decrease in attendance between January 2021 and last month, from 43,840 people in January 2021 to 42,460 people this January. Diamond Jo saw slightly higher attendance last month with 50,202 people, compared to 49,503 people in January 2021.

Brian Rakestraw, Q Casino vice president and general manager, also noted that bad weather incidents in January impacted the casinos, including over New Year’s Day weekend.

“The winter months really go by Mother Nature,” he said.

Rakestraw noted, however, that expenses were down last month, contributing to an increase in net income from operations.

“Even though our top line was slightly down, we did have a good month,” he said. “We’re projecting a very strong February and a very good start to 2022.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the DRA presented the City of Dubuque with a more than $4 million check — a record-breaking number — as part of its annual distribution. The funds were based on 2021 revenues for the DRA.

DRA officials had anticipated an increase in distributions to the city with both rising profits and a new lease agreement between both entities, which splits the DRA’s distribution among the city, charities and improvements to Chaplain Schmitt Island. The DRA leases the Q Casino facility from the city.

Casino officials said they were pleased to present the check at Tuesday’s meeting, as well as with the collaborative efforts from both Dubuque casinos.

“This is a super exciting time to be partners, and we have a fun year ahead,” said Wendy Runde, vice president and general manager of Diamond Jo. “We have established ourselves and established Dubuque as a gaming destination market.”