By Steve Beauregard

It has two baseball teams, 10 million people, and the second highest skyscraper in the United States. The Chicago metropolitan area also has eight different casinos within an hour’s drive of downtown.

There are many more surrounding the Windy City, however the casinos listed here are just the ones reachable within an hour’s drive. All are 50 miles are less away from Chicago’s center. Some offer free shuttle services.

The Horseshoe is the closest casino to Chicago

The Horseshoe is the closest casino to Chicago

We’re also only including actual, Vegas-style casinos, with slots, table games, restaurants, entertainment venues, etc., and not the bars and other establishments that have just video poker terminals.

The two closest casinos to Chicago, are not surprisingly the area’s two most successful (in terms of annual gaming revenue).

The Horseshoe Hammond and Rivers Casinos are both within 18 miles of downtown and both had just over $425 million in gaming revenue last year, far surpassing the other six area casinos.

Here’s a rundown of Chicago’s eight casinos, in order of proximity to downtown. We’ve included the estimated driving times per Google maps. The high figure is the worst case scenario if you are driving there on the busiest time, late Friday afternoon.

(Each colored pin represents one of the 8 casinos near Chicago)

Horseshoe Hammond Casino (Brown Pin) – 16.8 miles from downtown in northern Indiana. The drive time is between 30 minutes to an hour.

In terms of revenue, it’s the busiest casino in the Chicago area. Set behind a marina on Lake Michigan, the property includes 108,000 square feet of casino space, putting in on par with many of the mega resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Unlike those casinos however, the Horseshoe Hammond does not have a hotel onsite.

Caesars Horseshoe in Hammond is less than 17 miles from downtown Chicago

Caesars Horseshoe in Hammond is less than 17 miles from downtown Chicago

The casino boasts thousands and thousands of slot machines and video poker machines (1,500 penny slots alone), and has over 100 table games, including the usual favorites, like blackjack, craps roulette and baccarat.

It’s also home to the area’s largest poker room, with 34 tables that play host to big tournaments, including World Series of Poker circuit events.

The Horseshoe Hammond also has a large concert venue and four restaurants.

The Horseshoe is owned by Caesars Entertainment, meaning you can use your Total Rewards Card here, if you have one. There are numerous free shuttles running at all hours, from the casino to various stops all over Chicago.

Address & Phone

777 Casino Center Drive
Hammond, IN. 46320

(866) 711-7463

Rivers Casino Des Plaines (Dark Green Pin) – 17.3 miles. 25 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes.

Rivers Casino is 17 miles from downtown Chicago

Rivers Casino is 17 miles from downtown Chicago

The newest casino in Chicago, this resort opened in 2011. And in terms of revenue, it’s the second biggest casino in the Chicagoland area, with yearly gaming revenue just a tad below that of the Horseshoe Hammond.

Rivers Casino is in more northern Chicago, and is just 2 miles east of O’Hare International Airport, just off of Interstate 294. It’s the closest casino to many northern Chicago suburbs, including Evanston, Arlington Heights, and Mt. Prospect. This casino does not have a hotel.

There are just over 1,000 slot machines/video poker machines at Rivers, along with 48 table games in the casino’s 44,000 square feet of gaming space. There’s blackjack, craps, roulette, 3 card poker, baccarat, etc., but no poker room here.

In addition to the casino’s six restaurants, there is a small entertainment venue.

Address and Phone

3000 S. River Road
Des Plaines, IL. 60018

(847) 795-0777

Ameristar East Chicago Casino Hotel (Orange pin) – 23.1 miles south. A 35 minutes to an hour drive.

Ameristar East Chicago

Ameristar East Chicago

Another northern Indiana casino, the Ameristar is the closest casino with a hotel to Chicago. Like the Horseshoe a few miles north, it sets against the marina.

(Related: Casinos in Pittsburgh)

In addition to its 288 hotel rooms, and six restaurants, the Ameristar has 56,000 square feet of casino floor space, full of over 1,700 slot machines, and 65 table games.

Address and Phone

777 Ameristar Blvd.
East Chicago, IN. 46132

(219) 378-3000

Majestic Star Casino & Hotel (Yellow Pin) – 24.5 miles. 35 minutes to an hour driving time.

Technically, this northern Indiana casino is two different casinos, as the property extends to two different boats. Each boat hash has 3 floors of gaming. They combine to have just over 78,000 square feet of gaming space.

There are the usual array of slots and video poker machines here. In addition to the standard table games, (including craps games with both the fire bet and the All Tall and All Small bets), there is a separate baccarat room, and fairly decent-sized poker room, with limits as low as $3/6 limit Texas Hold’em.

Across the way, via a free shuttle, is the resort’s hotel, and the property has five restaurants as well.

Address and Phone

One Buffington Harbor Drive
Gary, IN. 46406

Majestic Star Casino

Majestic Star Casino

(888) 225-8259

Hollywood Casino Aurora (Red Pin) – 41 miles west. 45 minutes to 2 hour driving time (again, the higher figure is for Friday afternoons).

A typically riverboat casino that is in no way seaworthy, this is the casino that is the furthest west of all of the 8 Chicago-area casinos. It’s the closest casino to Naperville. It’s one of two Hollywood-branded casinos in Chicago (the other is in Joliet).

Just over one thousand slots fill the 53,000 square foot casino floor, along with 26 table games. There’s also a 7 table poker room, three restaurants, and an small entertainment venue.

The Hollywood Casino Aurora is not a 24 hour operation, as it opens daily at 8:30 AM. It does not have a hotel.

Address and Phone

1 W. New York Street Bridge
Aurora, IL. 60506

(800) 285-7600

Grand Victoria Casino (Black Pin) – 41 miles north and west. 45 minutes to up to 2 hour drive.

The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin

The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin

The closest (and only) casino in Elgin, this beautiful looking property sits on the banks of the Fox River.

The “GVC,” as they call themselves, has 1,100 slot machines/video poker machines, and several table games on two levels, including the lower level “pit” with some $5 minimums. The craps tables have 100x odds, and there is a small poker room.

There’s no hotel here, but there are four restaurants. In addition to the “Show Bar” there is an outdoor concert venue area. The casino has played hosts to acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rick Springfield, and the likes.

Address and Phone

250 South Grove Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120

(877) 468-7000

Harrah’s Joliet Hotel & Casino (Purple pin) – 45 miles south and west of downtown Chicago. 45 Minutes to an hour 15 minutes on I-94/57 and I 80.

On the Des Plaines River, Harrah’s Joliet has a small town casino feeling. It’s owned by Caesars Entertainment, so your Total Rewards Card is good here.

Harrahs Joliet Hotel & Casino

Harrahs Joliet Hotel & Casino

You can put that card into one of 1,100 slot machines, or 200 video poker machines. Thirty-one table games are spread here, and there is a small, but active poker room that hosts numerous tournaments.

In addition to the 200 room hotel, there are three restaurants (including a buffet), and a Starbucks.

Address and Phone

151 N. Joliet Street
Joliet, IL. 60432
(815) 740-7800

Hollywood Casino Joliet(Blue pin) 49 miles from downtown Chicago. 50 minutes to an hour 50 minutes.

Set on the Des Plaines River, just 6 miles south of Harrah’s, the Hollywood Casino Joliet is an impressive, remodeled casino with a 50,000 square foot casino floor that has 1,100 slot and video poker machines and the standard table games.

Hollywood Casino Joliet

Hollywood Casino Joliet

It has an average-looking neighboring hotel a short walk (or shuttle ride) away, and even an RV resort. Casino dining options include the typical casino steakhouse, a buffet, a brew pub and deli.

Address and Phone

777 Hollywood Boulevard
Joliet, IL. 60436

(888) 436-7737

Other Casinos Near Chicagoland

Blue Chip Hotel & Casino – A big beautiful casino resort located near the Indiana/Michigan border, this casino is 62 miles away, meaning it’s always at least an hour’s plus drive away.

Hard Rock Café Four Winds – Located 72 miles east in New Buffalo, Michigan. It’s always over an hour drive.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino – 92 miles to the north in Milwaukee. An hour and a half drive at the minimum.

Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf – 170 miles to the west, in the Quad Cities area on the Iowa/Illinois border. It’s well over a three hour drive.

Photos courtesy of each respective casino, except for the picture of Harrah’s Joliet, which is courtesy of Wikipedia, and the top Horseshoe photo, also courtesy of Wikipedia