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Eastern Iowa Casino Unveils $75 Million Renovation and Expansion

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A nearly 30-year-old Iowa casino has announced plans for a multi-year expansion and renovation. It will be the first major work in more than 17 years on the casino grounds.

The expansion of the casino, which opened in 1995, has already been approved by the city, with major approval pending. The work would be completed in 2025. Let’s get into the details.

Q Casino in Dubuque revealed plans in a Wednesday morning press release for the $75-80 million project. The release states that it is “an important part of a planned redevelopment of Schmitt Island, the property of the city where the Q Casino is located.”

Plans call for five phases of work on the site, which opened in 1985 as Dubuque Greyhound Park. It became Dubuque Greyhound Park and Casino in 1995 and its latest renovation and expansion, a $33 million project, was completed in the spring of 2005. The complex was known as Mystique Casino from 2009 until early 2017 when its name was changed to Q Casino.

The first phase of the new expansion and renovation would be the remodeling and connection of the old Dubuque Greyhound Park grandstand to the “existing casino floor in the upper stately building.” That would be used for a temporary casino.

The second phase includes the renovation of the entertainment area and the lower casino. It would include a new center bar with slot machines on the bar.

The third phase was to be a “permanent family entertainment zone for all ages”. That’s where the temporary casino would be.

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Phase four includes a new hotel, adjacent to the existing Hilton Garden Inn. The new hotel would have a rooftop restaurant.

Finally, in phase five, the facade of the facility is to be renovated, along with new outdoor signage, and improved parking and landscaping.

Brian Rakestraw, Chief Operating and Finance Officer of the DRA and Q Casino, said in the release: “Q Casino has traditionally played an integral role in the local economy and has consistently made valuable, gaming-related payments to the City of Dubuque. However, just like any other business, we also need to reinvest in ourselves if we want to grow, especially as new nearby playgrounds open in Wisconsin and Illinois.”

Plans for the Q Casino project have already been approved by the City of Dubuque. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Association will vote on the proposal at their meeting on Thursday, January 26.

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