As part of its Get to Know Gaming initiative, which most recently focused on gaming in Iowa, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has published an accompanying report on the state’s casino activities. Coming in for specific mention is the town of Dubuque and how its brace of casinos have positively transformed residents’ lives.

Said the report: “During the 1980s, there was a common refrain in Dubuque: ‘Would the last person out of town please turn out the lights’. People and businesses were leaving the city because of a weak economy and dim prospects for the future. The city’s two casinos have played a major role in reversing that trend and today directly employ almost 700 Iowans; providing their workers with more than $27m in compensation, and contributing nearly $25m in tax revenue to state and local governments. Additionally, they spent more than $54m last year on Iowa-based products and services, which strengthens small businesses and helps to create jobs.”

The AGA document estimates that across Iowa, circa 5,176 small business jobs are supported by the gaming industry and adds that the commitment to the local community goes beyond taxes and jobs. Speaking in the report, Brian Meyer, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dubuque, noted: “I realise they’re (casinos) there to make money, but I don’t think that’s at the top of their list. They’re there to have an impact on our community in a positive way.” 

According to the AGA, in 2017, the state’s casinos purchased $239.3m worth of products and services from fellow Iowa companies. In fact, 85 per cent of all total casino expenditures were on products, supplies and services from Iowa-based vendors.