Bill Would Cut State Taxes For Casinos

Des Moines, Iowa — A bill under consideration in the Iowa House would lower the state tax rate for Iowa’s state-licensed casinos to be at or near the tax rate for casinos in Nebraska and Missouri.

Illinois casinos have variable tax rates, based on the size of the market and the games offered. Mark Joyce is a lobbyist for the company that operates the Diamond Jo casinos in Northwood and Dubuque. Joyce says lowering taxes would be a welcome move.

Lobbyist Doug Struyk represents the Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, which he says is facing competition from new casinos in Illinois. Struyk also represents Caesars Entertainment which owns the Horseshoe and Harrah’s casinos in Council Bluffs that soon will be competing with a new casino in Omaha.

Gaming revenue for all three Council Bluffs casinos began to dip when the WarHorse Casino in Lincoln opened in September of 2022 and Harrah’s opened in Columbus, Nebraska in June of last year. Struyk says that has slowed the flow of gamblers from Nebraska into Iowa.

Another WarHorse Casino is expected to open in Omaha by August of this year. Representative Jane Bloomingdale is sponsoring the bill to gradually lower Iowa’s casino taxes over a three year period. She’s from Northwood. The state-licensed Diamond Jo casino is nearby.

Bloomingdale’s bill has cleared a House subcommittee, but one member of the panel said she’s concerned cutting casino taxes will lower the amount of money deposited in the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. Money from the fund is used on a variety of projects, from lake dredging to constructing or repairing state-owned buildings.


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