A month from now, the first of four new Iowa casinos will open its doors for business. The Diamond Jo in north central Iowa’s Worth County broke ground last June and is on track to roll the dice the first week of April.
General Manager Jim Dickstein says 80 percent of the casinos four-hundred employees have been hired. “Our first day of live gaming will be April 4th, but that will be for friends and family and Worth County people that we’re inviting,” Dickstein says. “Then on the 6th (of April) it opens to the public and we’ll have what we call (a) soft opening or sneak peak weeks until the 19th which is our grand opening.”
Dickstein says it’s fitting that the casino in Northwood is the first of the new casinos to open since the people of Worth County were so dogged in going to the statehouse day after day to try to convince state legislators to allow more casinos. “The people in Worth County worked very hard to first change the law and then to petition to get a license in their area,” Dickstein says.
The referendum which allowed a gambling casino in Worth County passed overwhelmingly with 70 percent of the vote, and more than 15-hundred people applied for jobs once the casino started hiring. “The economic impact we know is just going to be terrific for a variety of reasons,” Dickstein says. “We’ve hired a lot of Iowa people from the Iowa area. Also, our location tells us that about 70 percent of our money will be coming in from Minnesota. That’s real new money for Iowa. That’s not just Iowa money shuffled around within the middle of the state.”
The casino will feature five-hundred slot machines, 15 table games and five live poker tables. It also has a Burger King, a sit-down restaurant and bar — plus the City of Northwood’s first Starbucks. The Wild Rose of Emmetsburg plans to open on Memorial Day. The new casino in Riverside plans a September opening and the Isle of Capri Casino in Waterloo plans to open next May.