Ship to Shore
Rhythm City Casino, Davenport, Iowa • Cuningham Architecture
For a quarter century, the Rhythm City riverboat casino was a fixture of the mighty Mississippi River.
In June, that ship sailed, to be replaced by a $110 million land-based casino, located for maximum accessibility at Interstates 80 and 74 in Davenport, Iowa.
Though the name hasn’t changed, the rest is all new. In 2021, Elite Casino Resorts, owner of two other casinos in the Hawkeye State, acquired the gaming license previously held by Isle of Capri. The firm has since developed a world-class gaming facility on 40 acres with 900 slots, 30 table games, a six-story, 106-room hotel, an event center, a spa, a pool and three restaurants.
The resort’s design was inspired by its waterfront home, starting with a curved roofline and blue-and-white exterior meant to represent flowing water. The theme continues with LED lights that wash over the walls of the porte cochere, as well as staggered rooflines and building shapes that evoke trees edging the river.
Inside, the casino’s soaring Grand Hall has curving soffits that ebb and flow through a dramatic space. The ceiling treatment includes a reflective blue acrylic panel with hundreds of winking pendant lights. The custom carpet design features a background of water-like waves, and the gaming floor’s brightly colored starburst patterned carpet is bordered by a flowing edge.
The VIP/High Stakes area was inspired by the jazz rhythms of the Mississippi Delta. A fuchsia light strip inset into the wooden entryway conveys a feeling of kinetic energy. While the High Stakes area is open and welcoming, the VIP Lounge is more discreet, subdued and sophisticated.
The new complex also features a five-star steak-and-seafood restaurant, an upscale sports bar (with its own indoor fire pit), an indoor pool and a full salon and spa. The resort’s 1,500-seat, 16,000-square-foot event center is ideal for banquets, meetings and concerts.
At the ribbon-cutting in June, General Manager Mo Hyder said the new Rhythm City Casino “marks another milestone” in Iowa gaming.
“We’ve created an experience that’s going to position us as the market leader,” Hyder said. “It’s an incredible, awesome feeling.”
Owner: Elite Casino Resorts LLC
Architect: Cuningham Architecture
Builder: Baxter Construction
Total Area: 270,213 square feet
Investment: $110 million