By Steve Beauregard

With 4 casinos on the Missouri side and 2 others just across the Kansas border, there are plenty of options for visitors or residents of Kansas City to scratch their gambling itch.

From a small slots-only joints to luxurious Las Vegas-style resorts, the Kansas City metropolitan area has a thriving gambling market. The Missouri Gaming Commission says that the three casinos north of the Missouri River alone see over 6.3 million visitors a year.

The area’s six casinos are all within a ½ hour drive of downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

We’ll break these down in more detail below, but overall, five of the six are what you’d consider to be nice, traditional casinos – ones with regular slot machines, table games like craps, roulette, blackjack, etc. You have to be 21 or older to play here.

Inside the Ameristar - one of 6 casinos in the Kansas City area

Inside the Ameristar – one of 6 casinos in the Kansas City area

All but one set on the banks of the Missouri River, these 5 main casinos are clean, spacious, with all the usual games, nice hotels, restaurants, showrooms, and amenities you find at Las Vegas resorts.

A sixth casino is a small Indian-run slots-only casino in Kansas City, Kansas, and which doesn’t come highly recommended.

Below is a map of the six casinos:

Ameristar Casino Hotel (Red Star)
Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa (Brown)
Harrah’s North Kansas City (Purple)
Hollywood Casino (Black)
Isle of Capri (Green)
7th Street Casino (Blue)

Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City

By far the largest of the KC-area casinos, the Ameristar is 8 ½ miles northeast of downtown Kansas City. This equates to just a 15 to 25 minute drive most times.

The two levels of gaming are beautiful, with an ornate, Victorian décor. And with 140,000 square feet of casino space, Ameristar is larger than many of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Here you’ll find 2,200 slot machine/video poker machines, along with 66 table games. There’s also a 15 table poker room.

Opened in 1997, the rest of the resort has a charming old village motif with the pretty blue faux sky ceilings you often see at casinos.

In addition to an attached 184 room hotel, Ameristar Kansas City has an 18 screen theater, meeting space, 7 restaurants, (not including the food court), and the Star Pavilion showroom, which holds concerts for up to 1,350 guests.

The attached 5 level parking garage holds room for over 2,600 vehicles.

3200 North Ameristar Drive
Kansas City, MO 64161

(816) 414-7000

The Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa

The Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa

Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa

The Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa opened back in 1994 as the Kansas City area’s first riverboat casino. And it was a true riverboat too, floating up and down the Missouri River.

It’s now permanently docked of course, on beautiful grounds just around 7 ½ miles northwest of downtown, or roughly a 12 to 20 minute drive.

The 62,000 square foot casino has around 1,500 slot machines, and 30-plus table games. Attached to the casino is a 258 room hotel, spa, along with five restaurants.

777 N.W. Argosy Casino Parkway
Riverside, Missouri 64150

(816) 746-3100

Harrah’s North Kansas City

Part of the Caesars Entertainment chain of hotel/casinos, this resort is 6 ½ miles northwest of downtown. It’s normally just a 10 to 20 minute drive.

Here you’ll find 1,400 slot machines/video poker machines, and 45-plus table games, not including the poker room, which hosts daily tournaments starting in the $60 entry fee range.

In addition to four restaurants and coffee stand, Harrah’s NKC (as it’s often called), has a concert venue. It’s only the third largest casino in the region but has the largest hotel of the casinos, with 329 rooms.

Harrah's North Kansas City Casino & Hotel

Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino & Hotel

One Riverboat Drive
North Kansas City, MO. 64116

(816) 472-7777

Hollywood Casino at Kansas City Speedway

The most distant of the six KC-area casino, the Hollywood Casino is across the border into Kansas, but still just 16 miles directly west of downtown.

Just off of I-70 (the Kansas Turnpike), it would take you only around 20 to 25 minutes to drive.

Opened in February 2012, it’s the second largest casino in the KC area, at 100,000 square feet of casino space, complete with 2,000-plus slot machine/video poker machines, 40 table games and a 12 table poker room. It does not have a hotel attached to the resort, just a 74,000 seat NASCAR race track.

777 Hollywood Casino Boulevard
Kansas City, KS. 66111

(913) 288-9300

Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City

The second smallest casino in the area, at just 38,000 square feet, the Isle has the benefit of being by far the closest casino to the city, at just 2 ½ miles northwest of downtown, or just a 5 to 10 minute drive.

This riverboat casino still looks like a riverboat – complete with a moat-like setting on water south of the river.

The Isle does not have a hotel, but does have over 1,200 slot/video poker machines, 40 table games, and a small poker room. Please note that table games here open up at 10 a.m.

1800 East Front Street
Kansas City, MO, 64120

(800) The-Isle

7th Street Casino

The only Indian casino among the six, it’s just a fairly small building with only slot machines.

The 20,000 square foot casino is on the Kansas side, tucked between a cemetery and some Wyandotte County government buildings.

Five hundred and seventy-five slot machines dot the property. I haven’t personally been here, but they may be the bingo-style class II gaming machines found at Indian casinos, rather than traditional Vegas-style slot machines.

777 North 7th Street Trafficway
Kansas City, Kansas 66101

(913) 372-3500

(Photos courtesy of Brian Whitmarsh via Flickr, the Argosy Hotel & Casino, Caesars Entertainment).