Peninsula Gaming

Peninsula Gaming, LLC was a casino operator based in Dubuque, Iowa, with five properties in Iowa, Louisiana, and Kansas. It was acquired by Boyd Gaming in 2012.


In January 1999, Los Angeles-based AB Capital agreed to purchase the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, Iowa for $77 million.[1] The company's major shareholders were Los Angeles investment banker Brent Stevens and Las Vegas gaming developer Michael Luzich.[2] The purchase was completed in July 1999,[3] by which time the company had changed its name to Peninsula Gaming.[4]

In February 2002, Peninsula bought a fifty percent interest in the Evangeline Downs racetrack in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana from B. I. Moody for $15 million.[5] They bought the remaining half several months later from William Trotter for another $15 million, plus 0.5% of slot revenues for the first ten years.[6] After Lafayette voters had rejected slot machines at the track, Evangeline Downs had planned a move to St. Landry Parish, which Peninsula carried out. The casino at the new site opened in late 2003,[7] with races following in 2005.[8]

In 2004, Peninsula announced a proposed sister casino to the Diamond Jo, to be built in Worth County, Iowa at a cost of $40 million.[9] The project was awarded a gaming license in May 2005,[10] and the Diamond Jo Worth opened in April 2006.[11]

In 2009, Peninsula proposed building a $150-million racetrack casino in Des Moines, Iowa that would be a sister property to the Prairie Meadows racino.[12] Prairie Meadows ultimately rejected the plan.[13]

In June 2009, Peninsula agreed to buy the Amelia Belle riverboat casino in Amelia, Louisiana from Columbia Sussex for $106.5 million.[14] The purchase closed in October 2009.[15]

In November 2009, the company partnered with a group of local investors in a proposal to build a casino in Fort Dodge, Iowa.[16] The application for Diamond Jo Fort Dodge[17] was ultimately rejected by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, over concerns that the casino would draw too much business from the Wild Rose Casino in Emmetsburg.[18] Criminal charges were later filed against Peninsula and two of its executives (Martin Brent Stevens and Jonathan Swain),[19] alleging that they improperly funneled $25,000 in campaign contributions to Governor Chet Culver through three of the Fort Dodge investors.[20] The case was ultimately settled, with the criminal charges being dismissed and Peninsula agreeing to pay the costs of the investigation plus a $4,000 civil penalty.[21] In the settlement agreement, the company and its executives specifically den[ied] that they intended to violate the law.[22]

In 2010, Peninsula held discussions with the city of Davenport, Iowa about redeveloping or replacing the Rhythm City Casino, but the company withdrew to focus on its proposed Kansas casino.[23]

In July 2010, Peninsula submitted a bid for the sole available casino license in south central Kansas, proposing to build the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane.[24] The proposal was selected as the winner,[25] and Peninsula opened the casino in a temporary facility in December 2011,[26][27] moving to a permanent facility in December 2012.[28]

In May 2012, Boyd Gaming agreed to buy Peninsula Gaming for $1.45 billion.[29] Boyd executives particularly emphasized the high growth potential of the Kansas Star Casino.[30] The acquisition was completed on November 20, 2012.[31]



  1. ^ Mike Krapfl (January 17, 1999). "Diamond Jo owners OK sale". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA – via NewsBank.
  2. ^ Renee Berg (May 23, 1999). "New owners to run Diamond Jo from afar". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA – via NewsBank.
  3. ^ Renee Berg (July 16, 1999). "Local riverboat investors hit jackpot with sale". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA – via NewsBank.
  4. ^ Renee Berg (July 7, 1999). "Diamond Jo one step closer to completing sale". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA – via NewsBank.
  5. ^ "Peninsula Gaming eyeing full ownership of Evangeline Downs". The Blood-Horse. August 2, 2002. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  6. ^ Hector San Miguel (September 6, 2002). "With sale, Evangeline Downs poised for big move". The Blood-Horse. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  7. ^ Hector San Miguel (December 20, 2003). "Evangeline Downs gets early Christmas present". The Blood-Horse. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  8. ^ Tom LaMarra (April 7, 2005). "New Evangeline Downs breaks from gate". The Blood-Horse. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  9. ^ M.D. Kittle (November 17, 2004). "Diamond Jo parent eyes 2nd Iowa casino". Telegraph-Herald – via NewsBank.
  10. ^ M.D. Kittle (May 12, 2005). "Diamond Jo firm hits jackpot". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA – via NewsBank.
  11. ^ M.D. Kittle (April 6, 2006). "Diamond Jo's sister casino opens today". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA – via NewsBank.
  12. ^ "New pitches cloud Iowa's casino landscape". The Quad-City Times. Davenport, IA. August 25, 2009 – via NewsBank.
  13. ^ "Gaming officials: Second Des Moines casino dead". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA. August 28, 2009. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved 2012-05-16.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Amelia Belle sale pending". The Daily Review. Morgan City, LA. June 23, 2009 – via NewsBank.
  15. ^ "Amelia floating casino has new owner". The Daily Review. Morgan City, LA. October 30, 2009 – via NewsBank.
  16. ^ "Key participants in the Fort Dodge casino bid". Des Moines Register. April 18, 2010. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  17. ^ Bill Shea (March 24, 2010). "Diamond Jo leaders make their case". The Messenger. Fort Dodge, IA. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  18. ^ Bill Shea (May 14, 2010). "IRGC says no casino". The Messenger. Fort Dodge, IA. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  19. ^ "Lawyers explain dismissal of Culver case". Des Moines Register. Des Moines, IA: archives. October 4, 2012. pp. B1, B3. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  20. ^ Rod Boshart Lee (October 11, 2010). "Prosecutor files charges for illegal contributions to Culver". Sioux City Journal – via NewsBank.
  21. ^ "Prosecutors in Culver campaign contribution: Settlement was 'in the best interest of justice'". Des Moines Register. AP. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  22. ^ "Lawyers explain dismissal of Culver case". Des Moines Register. Des Moines IA: archives. October 4, 2012. p. B3. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  23. ^ Kurt Allemeier (November 5, 2010). "Davenport to consider $75M casino plan". The Quad-City Times. Davenport, IA – via NewsBank.
  24. ^ Fred Mann (July 23, 2010). "3 groups competing for Sumner Co. casino". Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  25. ^ "Board: Mulvane site has more revenue potential". Winfield Daily Courier. AP. December 16, 2010. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  26. ^ "New casino may draw 2 million-plus visitors". Topeka Capital-Journal. AP. December 9, 2011. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  27. ^ "Peninsula's new Kansas casino nets $3.25M". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, IA. December 31, 2011. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  28. ^ John Stearns (December 21, 2012). "Kansas Star Casino opens rest of permanent casino". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  29. ^ Chris Sieroty (May 16, 2012). "Boyd Gaming to buy Peninsula Gaming for $1.45 billion". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  30. ^ John Stearns (May 16, 2012). "Kansas Star Casino is Peninsula's 'jewel,' Boyd Gaming says". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  31. ^ "Boyd completes $1.45 billion acquisition of Peninsula Gaming". Vegas Inc. November 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-20.