The Dubuque Racing Association (DRA) Board of Directors, at today’s meeting, approved an amended lease with the City of Dubuque. The lease is subject to approval by the Dubuque City Council and final approval from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. The DRA is the license holder for gaming operations at Q Casino, a facility that is owned by the City of Dubuque.
The DRA and the City of Dubuque have maintained a strong relationship since the organizations inception in 1985, which brought greyhound racing to Dubuque during a time when unemployment was at its highest and the economic outlook of the community was very grim. Through their partnership and the support of the community, the organization has made over $1 billion in economic impact over the last 35 years, including over $213 million to the City and over $50 million to local non-profits.
In 2022 charities are projected to receive, based on 2021 performance, a record distribution amount of over $4 million, including contributions to the charitable endowment. With the ability this new lease provides to the DRA to implement the Schmitt Island Master Plan, we believe the Dubuque gaming and entertainment market will grow to the benefit of all parties.
The amended lease also provides the City additional lease revenues to further lessen the burden of government and provides the Dubuque Racing Association additional resources to reinvest into their gaming and entertainment facilities.
Earlier this year, Dubuque City Council named the implementation of the Schmitt Island Master Plan, which was adopted by the city in 2014 and amended in 2017, as a top priority to city staff. The newest iteration of the lease will equally distribute funds at the end of the year to the City of Dubuque, local non-profits, and a newly created Schmitt Island Development fund. These funds will help the master plan vision: Dubuque’s gateway to entertainment and the Mississippi; and mission: a connected island that welcomes visitors and community to recreation, entertainment and the outdoors; progress forward.
“Dubuque is in competition with Illinois and Wisconsin for gaming and entertainment dollars and this amended lease will make the Dubuque market more competitive creating local jobs and benefitting both gaming facilities, local businesses and non-profits,” said Mike Van Milligen, City Manager.
“The DRA is committed now, more than ever, to our mission of providing social, economic and community betterment and lessening the burden of area government, while contributing to the growth and viability of Dubuque area tourism. Implementing the Schmitt Island Master Plan will help Dubuque become a premier regional tourist destination by enhancing our home on the island and complementing all the other great destinations our community has to offer,” said Alex Dixon, President & CEO of the DRA. “I look forward to moving forward with final approval of the lease by both the Dubuque City Council and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.”
It is anticipated that the amended lease will be presented to the City Council on Monday, December 20, 2021 and set for a public hearing on January 3, 2022. Once approved by the City, the lease will be presented to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for final approval on Thursday, January 13.
The Schmitt Island Master Plan can be found here:
The Dubuque Racing Association (DRA) has been a vital part of the community since its inception in 1985. The DRA is operated by a volunteer board comprised of 21 directors who work together to guide operations at Q Casino. The DRA holds the license for casino-gaming operations at Q Casino and is the co-licensee for the Diamond Jo Casino.