Dubuque casinos report slight decrease in gaming revenue for 2022

Dubuque’s casinos saw strong gaming revenue numbers for last year, though those totals were down slightly compared to 2021.

Diamond Jo Casino and Q Casino collectively generated $125.98 million in gaming revenue in 2022, down 3.6% from 2021’s total of $130.7 million.

However, that total was still 4.5% above gaming revenue reported in 2019, which saw a total of $120.6 million in gaming revenue. Gaming officials generally have been using 2019 as the next-most recent year for comparison, as the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted 2020 figures.

Diamond Jo reported $74.2 million in gaming revenue last year, compared to $76.8 million in 2021. Q Casino reported gaming revenue of $51.7 million in 2022, compared to its 2021 total of $53.9 million.

Officials for the DRA — the nonprofit license holder for Dubuque’s casinos — also shared Tuesday that the DRA’s total distribution to the City of Dubuque for 2022 totaled $7.5 million, up 33% from the prior year.

Officials discussed financial figures for the year and took a look back at 2022 during a meeting of DRA board members.

“We are very pleased with the results as we close out year 2022,” said Brian Rakestraw, chief operating and finance officer for DRA and Q Casino. “Gross gaming revenue was down in December, and Mother Nature impacted the month.”

In December, both Dubuque casinos reported a combined $9.7 million in gaming revenue, down 6.2% compared to December 2021.

Q Casino reported $3.9 million in gaming revenue last month, a 9.6% decrease compared to December 2021. Diamond Jo’s revenue dropped 3.8% from about $6 million in December 2021 to $5.7 million in December 2022.

Kathy Buhr, director of strategic philanthropy and Chaplain Schmitt Island development with the DRA, also shared some highlights of the DRA’s accomplishments over the past 12 months.

In addition to working with the City of Dubuque on Schmitt Island development projects, Buhr said the DRA refreshed its brand and made changes to its grant program.

Last year, grant applicants for the first time could apply for either core grants — requests for up to $50,000 — or mission grants — requests of $50,000 to $500,000. A total of $3.13 million was given in grant funding in 2022.

“We really focused on the grant program and aligned it with the mission of the DRA and other local initiatives,” Buhr said. “We challenged our grant applicants to focus their grants on population attraction.”

That grant structure will remain in place this year. Mission grant applications will be open April 9 through 24, and core grant applications will be open May 8 through 19.

DRA board members also praised the organization’s work last year.

“Alex (Dixon, president and CEO of Q Casino and the DRA) has been with us a little over a year,” Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligen said during the meeting. “It’s just amazing what he’s been able to accomplish in that time when I look at the performance of last year. …He’s really assembled a top-notch staff, and it’s a really exciting time to be part of (the DRA).”