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Updated: 7/7/16

Horseshoe Council Bluffs

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Overview and History
Horseshoe Council Bluffs is the larger "glitzier neighbor" to Harrah's Council Bluffs.  The two casinos are about 2½ miles apart.

Insider Tip

If you win a jackpot or cash drawing of at least $1,200 in Iowa the state will collect five percent for tax purposes.  You can file a state income tax return in Iowa and might get some of that money refunded.
It has 68,000 sq ft of gaming space, more than 1,700 slot machines, a variety of table games, and a World Series Of Poker (WSOP) poker room.

The Horseshoe holds the WSOP Circuit Event during August of each calendar year, and the Horseshoe Poker Championships during February in each year.

The Horseshoe was originally called the Bluffs Run Casino & Greyhound Park Council Bluffs, but there no longer is greyhound racing.


Parking
Horseshoe offers complimentary valet parking for all guests and there also is surface parking, as well as a parking garage.  The garage can be very useful in the winter when it snows.

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here is gated parking for Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders on the second level of the garage, but you first need to obtain a special card to access it.  This card can be obtained from the Diamond Lounge at Horseshoe (or Harrah's where it also works for reserved parking there on the first level of the parking garage).

Relatively inexpensive rental cars are available at the airport, or the casino will take you to a nearby Enterprise.

Hotel Overview
Horseshoe does not have a hotel, but partners with four area hotels. 


The Hilton Garden Inn is physically connected to the casino, the Country Inn and Suites is across the street, and Springhill Suites is within walking distance.  A Holiday Inn Express is located two miles away and is about a five-minute drive.

Insider Tip

The Horseshoe has an RV Park which is open seasonally.
The front desk at the Country Inn and Springhill Suites will call to have the shuttle pick you up.

The Country Inn and Suites, Springhill Suites and Holiday Inn Express each offers guests a complimentary breakfast buffet.  The Hilton Garden Inn also has a breakfast buffet for less than $10 and Reward Credits can be used to pay for it.

Each of the hotels except the Holiday Inn have refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms, and all have swimming pools with Jacuzzis.   (The Hilton and Holiday Inn also have modest fitness centers.)

If you’re traveling to this area during the winter, stay at the Hilton unless you like going outside in a blizzard.  Additionally, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in the lobby the Hilton has complimentary beer/wine and snacks.

Casino Overview
The casino has all the typical slots one would expect, as well as more than 50 table games, including an 18-table Poker Room spreading Texas Hold'em and Omaha.  There are smoking and non-smoking areas.

Note that there are two entrances West where the shuttle drops you off (see below) and North where you drop your car for valet parking or enter from the self-parking garage.

Insider Tip

Shuttles between Horseshoe and Harrah's run every 30 minutes.  From Horseshoe service begins daily from the West Entrance at 10:30 a.m. and ends at Horseshoe at 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
The casino is equipped with Caesars proprietary Total Touch system that allows customers to order drinks, redeem free play, check their Total Rewards account balances, and receive real-time offers based on play.

Insider Tip

There is a $5.99 per transaction fee to use the ATMs.
Alcoholic beverages are complimentary for Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders; others can use Reward Credits to pay for drinks.  The casino has self-serve soft drinks and coffee at designated beverage centers.

The Total Rewards Center and Cashier are located together and staffed by the same employees 24 hours a day.

NOTE:  If you're playing to earn a daily tier bonus, you'll have to manually calculate your combined tier credits from Horseshoe and Harrah's.  The amount shown as your daily play on the Total Touch pad reflects only your score at the casino at which you are playing.

Seven Stars Lounge
There is no Seven Stars Lounge, but there is a very attractive Diamond Lounge.  Even though Seven Stars cardholders can bring three guests (and Diamond cardholders one guest), each guest must have a valid Total Rewards card any tier level. 


Open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the lounge has a small bar that seats 12, a salad bar and a soup of the day, plus a special main dish ranging from hamburgers and fried chicken to crab cakes, sandwiches, pizza and chicken tenders.  (The menu at the Diamond Lounge at Harrah's is the same each day.  You can get a calendar of menus when you check-in to the lounge.)

There also are cookies and other desserts available, as well as self-serve soft drinks, coffee, cappuccino and iced tea.

Food is served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 5 to 8 p.m.  On Sunday the lounge serves brunch.


There are no beverage servers, so order your drink from the bartender and carry it to your table.

Horseshoe has a General Manager’s Club, left, making it the only one other than Harrah's North Kansas City.  The club is much more elegant than the Diamond Lounge and has a small bar.  If the club is not busy, the bartender not only will take your order, but make your drink and deliver it to you.  Otherwise, like the Diamond Lounge, the club expects you to order your drink at the bar and take it to your seat.

Eligibility for the General Manager’s Club is based on earning 40,000 or more tier credits annually.  Members also get free tickets to the concerts at Harrah’s.

The General Manager’s Club is open Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 11 p.m.  Food service begins at 5.   It has its own separate menu and is usually a little better than the Diamond Lounge.  The beverage choices in the General Manager’s Club also are better.

The General Manager's Club has a computer with Internet access and a printer, but the Diamond Lounge has only a computer.  Both the General Manager's Club and the Diamond Lounge have daily newspapers to borrow while visiting.  In addition, the General Manager's Club has charging stations for cellphones.

Dining, Entertainment and Other Amenities
For fine dining there is Jack Binion’s Steak House, as well as the Village Square Buffet.   For 24-hour dining there's JB's Cafe.

For indoor entertainment Horseshoe has Whiskey Roadhouse, a combination bar, nightclub and concert venue where you can enjoy dancing and live entertainment on the weekends.

For golfers there is Westwood Park and Dodge Park.

Should You Choose This For Your Annual Retreat?
If you're going to Council Bluffs for your Annual Retreat (or Aspirations Level 1 trip) you must be booked at Harrah's.

However, if you do opt to travel to Council Bluffs for a different trip, you probably won't find a friendlier or more knowledgeable staff
other than at Harrah's.

Keep in mind, though, that your dining choices are pretty limited even though you can cross-charge between both the Horseshoe and Harrah's.  Each has a high-end steakhouse, a buffet, and a 24-hour outlet for lighter meals and snacks.  It would be nice if there were an Italian restaurant, an Asian restaurant or some other less expensive alternative, at either the Horseshoe or Harrah's.

For accommodations, the Hilton Garden Inn is adjacent and directly connected to the Horseshoe.  I'd opt for that rather than any of the other partner hotels, assuming you have a choice.

Other pluses are the size of the casino and gaming options it offers, as well as the size and ambience of the Diamond Lounge.

Plus, when it's open,
and for those who qualify, the General Manager's Club is  nice alternative to relax and enjoy a cocktail.

Compared to the full buffets served in Atlantic City, the Diamond Lounges in Council Bluffs basically serve one entree, then supplement it with a small salad bar, soup du jour, and cookies and some small desserts.  Though some were obviously making the bill of fare their dinner, we're talking about pasta, chicken fried steak, make-your-own sandwiches, and fish and chips.

The General Manager's Club usually offers marginally better options such as sesame chicken, grilled sirloin and prime rib.

Insider Tip

Pending availability, Horseshoe will transport you downtown to the Old Market, the zoo, and other attractions.  Again, pending availability, you also can get return transportation.  Horseshoe's shuttles also will pick up and drop off at select local hotels for registered hotel guests and will pick up at AmeriStar for guests who want to game at Horseshoe, but they do not drop off there. There is no charge for these services, but a gratuity for the driver would be appreciated.
There also are lots of things to do in nearby Omaha. 
Among the top choices are the Henry Dooly Zoo & Aquarium (one of the best in the country) and the Durham Museum (which has its own diner and soda fountain).  Also popular with visitors is the Old Market Business District of Omaha with lots of restaurants and stores, including some excellent antique shops.  In addition, there is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in downtown Council Bluffs.  In Nebraska an easy drive are The Archway, the Strategic Air & Space Museum, Joslyn Castle, the Joslyn Museum (free!), the Gerald Ford Birth Site and Gardens (also free), General Crook House Museum, Historic Florence and Boys Town.

Plus, near the casino are a Bass Pro Shops, an AMC Theater muliplex (including IMAX) and the Mid-America Center.

As always, when you check-in, be sure to verify that your $500 comp account has been set-up and what it can be used for.  Gratuities may be charged to your room and settled at check-out with your credit card on file.  Best advice is to keep all your receipts until you settle your final bill.

Where Horseshoe Council Bluffs Is Located

2701 23rd Ave., Council Bluffs, IA 51501


Those flying to Council Bluffs will take flight to Omaha's Eppley Airfield.  From there it's about a 15-minute drive to the Horseshoe.
 


*subject to change

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