Officials continue seeing positive trends in Dubuque gaming market

Dubuque casinos again reported exceeding pre-pandemic gaming revenue figures for the month of April, and officials are hopeful about positive trends continuing this summer.

Diamond Jo Casino and Q Casino and Hotel reported a combined $11.7 million in gaming revenue last month, according to figures released by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. That number is a 13.5% increase from the collective $10.3 million in gaming revenue reported in April 2019.

Both Dubuque casinos were closed in 2020 from mid-March to the end of May, so neither had any gaming revenue generated in April 2020.

Diamond Jo generated $6.6 million in gaming revenue last month, up from $6 million reported in April 2019. Q Casino reported generating over $5.1 million last month, a jump from the $4.3 million in gaming revenue reported in April 2019.

Both casinos had reported a return to pre-pandemic gaming revenue figures for March, as well.

The positive trend was shared with the Dubuque Racing Association Board of Directors during a virtual meeting on Tuesday. The DRA is the nonprofit license holder for both Dubuque casinos.

“We had a very good month for April, and May is also starting off very well,” said Q Casino Vice President and General Manager Brian Rakestraw. “We are very excited for the results we’re seeing for 2021.”

Despite the positive outlook, he noted that both casinos continue to experience declines in attendance. The casinos had 108,793 guests last month, down from the pre-pandemic attendance of 138,030 guests in April 2019.

Diamond Jo saw 56,066 attendees while Q Casino had 52,727. Those figures are down 24.5% and 17.3%, respectively, from April 2019.

Rakestraw added that lower revenue in hotel and entertainment is still a struggle, as well.

“However, we’re seeing an uptick in our hotel revenue, so we’re optimistic that’s coming back,” he said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, DRA Board Chairman Kevin Lynch also encouraged attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the DRA-funded Veterans Memorial Plaza, which will take place May 30. Located on Chaplain Schmitt Island, the project includes the relocation of the Tri-State Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the installation of the “Skyward” sculpture.

“We have been busy planning this event, and it’s going to be a really great event for anyone that can attend,” Lynch said. “… We’ve been waiting for this for a long, long time.”