UMGC Mission Statement
Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the enrichment of Clayton County, Iowa through the dispersion of funds acquired from an admission tax paid by the Casino Queen, Marquette. It is the groups’ mission to award these funds to qualifying tax exempt organizations or those working in cooperation with local governments within Clayton County who cultivate projects that meet established criteria. These projects should encourage economic development, community betterment, improved cultural and recreational activity facilities, programs or activities that foster enhanced educational experiences for our youth, or improve the overall quality of life for residents of this county.
Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation (formerly known as Marquette Gaming Corporation) originally formed in 1993 to meet the Iowa law requirement that riverboat casino licenses must be held by a qualified sponsoring organization. UMGC is the non-profit license holder for the riverboat casino, the Casino Queen located in Marquette, Iowa.
The Casino Queen Marquette is one of 2 properties whose corporate headquarters is located at East Riverfront St. Louis, 200 S. Front St., East St. Louis, IL 62201. The partnership created by UMGC as the non-profit license holder and the Casino Queen Marquette as the casino operator is a catalyst for grant awards presented annually to non-profits that are located in or benefit residents of Clayton County, Iowa.
Board of Directors
The affairs of UMGC are overseen by a Board of Directors and managed by the Executive Director. The number of Directors shall be no fewer than (7) and no greater than (9). Directors need not be residents of Clayton County Iowa, but must have a vested interest in Clayton County by virtue of their residence, or the ownership of real estate or a business in Clayton County. Directors are volunteers. The Executive Director is the only paid employee of the Corporation.
By state law, the Board of Directors of a qualified sponsoring organization licensed to operate gambling games must be residents of Iowa and must include, as ex officio, nonvoting members of the board, a member of the county board of supervisors and a member of a city council for each county and city that has a licensed gambling games facility operated by the qualified sponsoring organization.
The business affairs are carried out by an Executive Director.
Where Does the Funding Come From?
UMGC receives its funding from an admission tax paid by the Casino Queen Marquette. This revenue provides the funding UMGC needs to make grants available to qualified organizations. In recent years funding has transitioned from a 50 cent per passenger admission tax to a percentage of the casino’s adjusted gross revenue. Going to a percentage means UMGC will be able to grant out a greater amount of money each year.
In 2016 UMGC received an additional $50,000 per our new contract. Then in 2017, and again in 2018, UMGC received an additional $100,000 to help compensate our boarding fee of 50 cents per head. In June 2019 we began receiving 3.25% of the casino’s adjusted gross revenue. So, the first part of 2019 we were still receiving 50 cents per head and the second have we jumped up to the 3.25% plus a $200,000 bonus. Our grand total for 2019 was $610,903.81.
2020 was the first year UMGC received full compensation at 3.25%. However, due to Covid-19 and the boat being closed for a couple of months, our revenue was down and we did not meet our granting goals. For the year of 2020 we still brought in a total of $393,617.91. With some proceeds from last year and a determination for funding, we managed to grant out a total of $410,410.82.
UMGC would still like to see a record year of funding and our total available funds reach about $800,000. Gambling can be a fun recreation when used wisely. Come on over to the Casino Queen and check it out. Don’t forget the awesome buffet before or after you play.
The Casino Queen has nothing to do with the UMGC granting process.
Grant Funding Process
Each year, grant applications are accepted by UMGC from non-profit organizations, government entities, and educational facilities. Requests may be for projects or programs in Clayton County or may be from outside the county if they can demonstrate a direct benefit to the residents of Clayton County.
Board of Directors
Tim Schlein Monona - Term expires 2025-2nd term
Nick Fettkether, Volga - Term expires 2023-2nd term
Robyn Denning McGregor - Term expires 2026-1st term
Dan Kuempel Guttenberg - Executive Director
Dave Kahrs St. Olaf - Term expires 2026-1st term
Jennifer Cowsert Treasurer Elkader - Term expires 2025-2nd term
Jane Christiansen Vice President Edgewood - Term expires 2025-2nd term
Ellen Johnson Guttenberg - Term expires 2024-1st term
Elizabeth Breitbach President N Buena Vista - Term expires 2024-1st term
Dean Courtnage Strawberry Point-Term expires 2025-1st term
Ray Peterson Elkader Ex-officio
Liz Gilman Marquette Ex-officio