Riverboat to be scrapped, new Harrah’s casino opens tomorrow in Council Bluffs


June 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The grand opening of a new gambling facility is tomorrow (Saturday) in southwest Iowa. Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino has been closed this week as it transitions from being aboard a riverboat to an exclusively land-based gaming hall. Harrah’s general manager Bo Guidry says there will be advantages to not having a riverboat.  “It’s a good feeling not having to worry about customers going onto three different levels and having a slow elevator or to go up the stairs,” Guidry says. The Kanesville Queen, docked along the Missouri River, was closed for good over the weekend. The new casino is located near the entrance to the hotel. 

“We’re about 30 steps away from valet,” Guidry says. “Before, you had to park your car, walk down these long corridors, then you had to get on the ramp of the boat, which was 200 feet long, and then you would get to the boat.” The riverboat officially closed at 4 A-M on Monday and Guidry says it was a good morning for one gambler in particular. “Our last customer who left won $500 right before she left so it was fantastic and she had a great time,” he says.

The casino will offer new options for gambling, dining and entertainment. It has about 25-thousand square feet of gaming space, which is a bit smaller than what was available on the boat. Efforts to sell the riverboat and keep it afloat have failed. The plan is now to tear it apart for scrap. The new gaming space replaces what was Harrah’s convention area. Last year, the company took over operations of the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs. All events that were held at the casino are now being held there, including weddings, receptions and conventions.

(Radio Iowa)