March 8, 1990, the Commission granted excursion boat gambling licenses to the following entities (Qualified Sponsoring Organization/Excursion Boat Operator):
- Dubuque Racing Association/Dubuque Casino Belle Inc., who began operation on April 1, 1991 as the Dubuque Casino Belle in Dubuque.
- Southeast Iowa Regional Authority/Steamboat Southeast, Inc., who began operation on May 10, 1991 as Emerald Lady, serving Burlington, Ft. Madison and Keokuk.
- Riverbend Regional Authority/Steamboat Development Corporation, who began operation on April 1, 1991 as the Diamond Lady in Bettendorf.
- Riverboat Development Authority/The Connelly Group. L.P., who began operation on April 1, 1991 as the President in Davenport.
- Missouri River Historical Development, Inc./Missouri Riverboat Associates, L.P. in Sioux City. After failing to secure financing, their license was revoked by the Commission October 1, 1990.
November 27, 1990, an excursion boat gambling license was granted to the Missouri River Historical Development, Inc./Steamboat Sioux City Inc., who voluntarily surrendered their license on March 26, 1992.
January 17, 1991, an excursion boat gambling license was granted to the Clinton County Gaming Association/Mississippi Belle II, Inc., who began operation on June 12, 1991 as the Mississippi Belle II in Clinton.
November 27, 1991, Prairie Meadows filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The Final Order was issued on May 17, 1993 bringing them out of Bankruptcy.
May of 1992, legislation was enacted removing the live performance requirement for simulcast wagering at pari-mutuel facilities. In 1994, that legislation was amended requiring at least sixty performances of nine live races each day of the season in order for simulcasting to occur.
Excursion boat gambling referendums were approved on August 20, 1991 in Allamakee County and on October 15, 1991 in Clayton County.
During 1992, the Director of the Department of Inspections and Appeals negotiated three Native American Indian tribal gaming compacts for the Governor. The Commission has no regulatory or oversight responsibility for the compacts.
- The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska began operation of WinnaVegas Casino near Sloan on April 30, 1992.
- The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska began operation of CasinOmaha near Onawa on June 22, 1992.
- The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa began operation of Meskwaki Bingo and Casino near Tama on December 31, 1992.
In July of 1992, the licensees serving Bettendorf and Burlington/Ft Madison/ Keokuk ceased operations leaving three operating excursion boat licensees in Iowa.
July 2, 1992, a three year license was granted to the Missouri River Historical Development, Inc./Sioux City Riverboat Corp., who began operation as the Sioux City Sue in Sioux City on January 29, 1993.
An excursion boat gambling referendum was approved on November 3, 1992 in Polk County.
In March of 1993, the licensee serving Dubuque ceased operation leaving three operating excursion boat licensees in: Clinton, Davenport and Sioux City. However, that same month a license was granted to the Dubuque Racing Association/Greater Dubuque Riverboat Entertainment Company, L.C., who began operation as the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque on May 18, 1994.
September 16, 1993, an excursion boat license was denied to Summit Riverboat Casinos Sioux City, Inc./Missouri River Historical Development, Inc.
December 10, 1993, National Cattle Congress, Inc. (Waterloo Greyhound Park) filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The Final Order issued on June 26, 1996 brought them out of Bankruptcy.
January 20, 1994, an excursion gambling boat license was granted to the Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Corporation/Catfish Bend Casinos L.C., who began operation as Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington/Ft. Madison on November 16, 1994.
Legislation was enacted in March of 1994:
- Removing the $200/day loss limit and the maximum $5/hand wager.
- Requiring an additional local referendum in counties already authorized for excursion boat gambling to allow for unlimited wagers and removal of the loss limits.
- Raising the age restriction for wagering from 18 to 21 (persons 18 and older may be employed in a gambling area).
- Allowing for certain gambling games at racetrack enclosures existing on January 1, 1994 subject to a local referendum.
- Changing the minimum passenger capacity of an excursion gambling boat from 500 to 250 persons.
- Eliminating the requirement that no more than 30% of the square footage of the vessel be used for gambling.
- Requiring that if a proposition to operate gambling games on an excursion gambling boat or at a racetrack enclosure is approved by a majority of the county electorate voting on the proposition, the board of supervisors shall submit the same proposition at the general election held in 2002 and, unless the operation of gambling games is not terminated earlier, at the general election held at each subsequent eight-year interval.
- Allowing for the use of nickels and quarters for wagering.
- Eliminating the prohibition against gambling while dockside.
- Changing the wagering tax to fund the Gambler’s Treatment Program from three percent to three-tenths of one percent of the adjusted gross revenue.
- Removing boarding restrictions and allowed the Commission to set the minimum number of excursions and excursion times.
- Allowing licensees to conduct gambling on a 24 hour a day basis.
Gambling game referendums were held in the following counties in 1994:
- May 10 - Clinton and Clayton Counties (approved)
- May 17 - Lee, Des Moines, Woodbury, and Scott (approved)
- May 17 - Dubuque and Pottawattamie (approved both racetrack and boat)
- May 17 - Black Hawk (racetrack enclosure-failed) Polk (racetrack enclosure-approved)
- July 12 - Jackson (approved)
- September 27 - Black Hawk (racetrack enclosure-failed)
- November 8 - Polk ( excursion boat failed)
Excursion gambling boat licensees began unlimited gambling in June of 1994.
May 11, 1994, a lease agreement and a stock sale agreement between Sioux City Riverboat Corporation, Inc. and Gaming Development Group were approved.
November 18, 1994, excursion gambling boat licenses were granted to the Marquette Gaming Corporation/Gamblers Supply Management Company, who began operation as the Miss Marquette on December 26, 1994 in Marquette and to the Missouri River Historical Development Inc./Belle of Sioux City, L.P., began operation as the Belle of Sioux City on December 1, 1994 in Sioux City. The Sioux City Riverboat Corporation ceased operation at that time. In 1996, Marquette Gaming Corporation changed its name to Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation.
January 18, 1995, an excursion gambling boat license was granted to Riverbend Regional Authority/Lady Luck Bettendorf, L.C., who began operation as Lady Luck on April 21, 1995 in Bettendorf. It had been approximately three years since Bettendorf was last served by a riverboat.
January 20, 1995, excursion gambling boat licenses were granted to Iowa West Racing Association/Harvey’s Iowa Management Company, Inc., who began operation as Harveys Casino Hotel on January 1, 1996 and Iowa West Racing Association/Ameristar Council Bluffs Inc., who began operation as Ameristar Casino on January 19, 1996, both located in Council Bluffs. Four licenses were denied in the Council Bluffs area: President Riverboat Casino-Carter Lake, Inc./Pottawattamie County Gaming Association; Boomtown Iowa, L.C./Iowa West Racing Association; Iowa Par-A-Dice, L.P./Iowa West Racing Association; and Abbott L.C.-MOM Inc./Pottawattamie County Gaming Association.
An excursion boat gambling referendum was approved on February 28, 1995 in Clarke County.
February 28, 1995, a gambling games racetrack enclosure license was granted to Iowa West Racing Association, who began operation as Bluffs Run Casino on March 15, 1995 in its Council Bluffs facility.
Also on February 28, 1995, a gambling games racetrack enclosure license was granted to Racing Association of Central Iowa, who began operation as Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino on April 1, 1995 in its Altoona facility.
In July of 1995, legislation was enacted requiring the Commission to cooperate with the gamblers assistance program and to incorporate information regarding the program and its toll-free telephone number in printed materials distributed by the Commission. It also provided that, as a condition of licensing, the Commission could require licensees to have the information available in a conspicuous place.
July 20, 1995, a gambling games racetrack enclosure license was granted to Dubuque Racing Association, who began operation as Dubuque Greyhound Park and Casino on November 22, 1995 in its Dubuque facility.
July 20, 1995, an excursion gambling boat license was denied for Clarke County Development Corporation/Argosy of Iowa, Inc. in Osceola.
November 16, 1995, the racing dates of February 25, 1995 – April 21, 1996 were denied to the National Cattle Congress. On January 30, 1996, the racing dates of February 14 – April 21, 1996 were denied and on March 7, 1996, a pari-mutuel wagering license was denied for the National Cattle Congress. Operations ceased at Waterloo Greyhound Park on July 13, 1996 in Waterloo.
April 18, 1996, an excursion gambling boat license was denied for ILLIAMO/Midwest Gaming in Keokuk.
June 20, 1996, SODAK Gaming Inc. was approved to purchase the Gamblers Supply Management Company, the licensed excursion gambling boat operator at Marquette.
An excursion boat gambling referendum failed on November 5, 1996 in Dallas County.
April 8, 1997, an excursion gambling boat license was denied for Clarke County Development Corporation/Argosy of Iowa, Inc. in Osceola.
A second excursion boat gambling referendum was approved on November 18, 1997, in Clarke County.
November 20,1997, an excursion gambling boat license was granted to Clarke County Development Corporation/Southern Iowa Gaming Company, who began operations on January 1, 2000 as Lakeside Casino Resort.
October 22, 1998, the Commission approved the change in ownership from Harveys Casino Resorts, parent company of Harveys Iowa Management Company, Inc., to Colony Investors III, L.P. and Colony HCR VoteCo, L.L.C.
January 21, 1999, the Commission approved the sale of assets from the Greater Dubuque Riverboat Entertainment Co. (Dubuque Diamond Jo) to AB Capital, L.L.C.
May 20, 1999, an excursion boat license was granted to the Dubuque Racing Association/Peninsula Gaming Company, L.L.C. (name changed from AB Capital, L.L.C.) to operate a riverboat in Dubuque. The change in ownership of the operation of the Diamond Jo was effective on July 15, 1999.
September 23, 1999, the Commission approved the purchase of Bluffs Run physical structure from Southwest Iowa Foundation by Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA); the purchase and sale agreement and joint escrow instructions by and between HBR Realty Company, Inc., and IWRA; Lease by and between HBR Realty Company, Inc., and IWRA; and the Management Agreement between Harveys BR Management Company, Inc. and IWRA.
October 21, 1999, an excursion gambling boat license was granted to the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corp./Lady Luck Marquette, Inc., to operate a riverboat in Marquette. The change in ownership of the operation was effective on October 30, 1999. Lady Luck Gaming Corporation purchased the stock of Gamblers Supply Management Company.