For those who have not spent much time in the great heartland state of Iowa, you may not know just how progressive this seemingly little state is that sits in the center of our country. Iowa was the first state in the nation to legalize riverboat casinos in 1989. Soon after that numerous riverboat casinos popped up along the Iowa banks of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Riverboat gambling was revived and thriving in Iowa.It was around that time that Native American tribe casinos also opened in Iowa. Iowa further progressed by allowing land-based casinos in the mid-2000s. Since then the riverboats have begun to dwindle as the new modern and expansive land-based casinos are being built. These land-based casinos are quite nice and provide a Vegas-like feel of a casino without the gaudy lights. The riverboats do have a certain charm to them and are definitely worth a trip.Iowa has twenty casinos spread throughout the state. Many still line up and down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and others located in the central part of the state. From casinos in Council Bluffs along the Missouri River, to the Des Moines area, and casinos along the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities and Dubuque, there are certainly casinos along any stretch of Iowa. Not all, but the most of the casinos along the rivers are riverboats. There are still six riverboat casinos in Iowa. That number will begin to dwindle as these casinos build new ones to replace the expensive upkeep of a riverboat.Sioux City, Iowa will probably be the next area to build a new land-based casino and retire their riverboat. If you look at a map of Iowa, these casinos are spread out to cover the entire state without having to go too far without running into one. Most casinos offer much more than just gambling. Fine dining and hotels adjoin most casinos or is located nearby. Some provide live concert venues and most land-based casinos offer a resort style setup with golf and spas.Some offer live racing as well. Bluffs Run Greyhound Park is located at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs and the Mystique Casino Racetrack also offers greyhound racing. Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona, just outside Des Moines, offers thoroughbred racing. I know that if you have never visited the Iowa casinos it may be hard to believe that they can offer so much. They can and do. They are much more than a stop along the way, they have become a destination. Check them out and give them a visit sometime. You won’t be disappointed.