Indiana’s largest city has the state’s capitol, two million people, the most famous auto race track in the world, but zero casinos.
However there are two casinos within an hour’s drive of downtown Indianapolis.
Both are racinos (combination casino and horse racing tracks) and both are busy, popular joints. Of the 13 casinos in Indiana, these two casinos are both in the top five when it comes to monthly gaming revenue.
Until just recently, neither were allowed to offer live table games. However thanks to changes to state law, both casinos have live table games and sportsbooks!
Other than those two racinos, the nearest gambling options for Indy visitors and residents are riverboat casinos to south and east, or casinos across the border in Ohio, (more on that below).
(Here the purple star represents the Horseshoe Indianapolis, while the black star is Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The 5 other stars represent other nearby casinos)
Horseshoe Indianapolis Casino
(Purple star on map)
Opened in the spring of 2009 at a cost of a quarter of a billion dollars. The previously-named Indiana Live! was renamed Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in 2013, then rebranded and expanded in 2022 as the Horseshoe Indianapolis.
It’s the closet casino to Indianapolis.
(Related: Cincinnati casinos)
The casino is located Shelbyville, and is just a 27 mile (or 43 kilometer) drive southeast of downtown on Interstate 74.
It’s the second busiest casino in Indiana, based on gaming revenue, (second only to its Horseshoe cousin up in Hammond).
In its 233,000 square foot building, you’ll find 1,600 slot machines/video poker machines. Included in this total are a variety of electronic table games, including electronic craps, blackjack and roulette.
The Horseshoe Indianapolis’ lineup of 92 live table games include dice craps, blackjack, roulette, EZ Baccarat, Mississippi Stud, Face Up Pai Gow, and Ulitmate Texas Hold’em, among others. There’s now even live poker, with the opening of the 5,000 square foot, 20-table WSOP Poker Room.
Caesars Sportsbook here offers plenty of screens, seats and betting windows. On the horse racing side, the live thoroughbred horse racing season here starts in mid-April and runs until early November. In addition to live betting, there is simulcast betting on races throughout the country.
Restaurants and Bars
The Horseshoe Indianapolis Casino has two bars and four restaurants, including the Sidewalk Cafe. There’s not a hotel onsite.
Parking is free, both in the casino’s attached five story parking garage (which has 1,200 spaces) and among the 2,000 uncovered spaces just south of the race track.
You have to be 21 to play in the casino, but only 18 years of age or older, to bet on the horses. There is not a hotel at the Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Horseshoe Indianapolis Address, Phone & Website
4300 N. Michigan Road
Shelbyville, IN 46176
Website: Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino
(Black Star on map)
The second closest casino to Indianapolis, Harrah’s Hoosier Park is 40 miles (or 63 km) from downtown off of Interstate 69 in Anderson, Indiana.
It’s normally a 45 minute drive or so, but Google maps estimates this drive can take up to an hour and a half during weekday afternoon rush hour.
Opened in 2008, (the horse racing track opened in 1994), Hoosier Park’s casino has 2,000 slot machines and video poker machines, including Buffalo Grand, Pacman Wild Edition, Texas Tea Pinball, and ELVIS Shake Rattling Reels Slots. Limits range from a penny to a hundred dollars.
They have 30 live table games. These include four roulette wheels, two craps games, Three-card poker, Mississippi Stud, and 14 tables with either blackjack or blackjack variants with side bets.
In addition to the live versions, you’ll find electronic versions of roulette, craps and baccarat. Plus there’s the fun multi-player electronic blackjack game. There’s also a high-limit room with blackjack offered.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park does not have a poker room, but they a Caesars Sportsbook. While the casino is open 24 hours a day of course, the sportsbook opens at 11 AM on weekdays, and 10 AM on weekends – enough time to get those NFL picks in.
(Related: Casinos in Columbus, Ohio)
Of course, there is plenty of horse betting here. Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s live horse racing season runs from April to October. Like the Indiana Grand, Hoosier Park offers year-round simulcast wagering on races at other tracks.
A $34 million dollar, 38,000 square foot expansion was approved, when construction estimated to be complete in the spring of 2023.
Restaurants and Entertainment
Among the restaurants here are the The Homestretch Steakhouse, a deli, and the Dog n Suds (for hot dogs, burgers, shakes and the like).
In addition to a 1,200 indoor Terrace Showroom, the racino hosts big-name acts at a 4,200 seat outdoor music venue.
One last note, while Hoosier Park does not have a hotel attached to the casino, however they do offer complimentary shuttle service from their partner hotels near the casino.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park Address, Phone & Website
4500 Dan Patch Circle
Anderson, IN. 46013
Website: Harrah’s Hoosier Park Casino
Q. What is the biggest casino in Indianapolis?
A. With nearly a quarter-million square feet of total space, Horseshoe Indianapolis Casino is the largest casino in the Indianapolis area.
Q. How Old Do You Have to Be to Play at Indianapolis Casinos?
A. You must be 21 or older to play casino games, however 18 year-olds are allowed to bet on the horse races (and play the lottery).
New Casino by Indianapolis
The Queen of Terra Haute is a new casino scheduled to be built 77 miles west of Indianapolis. The Indiana Gaming Commission has accepted Churchill Downs Incorporated to build the estimated $240 million dollar project.
Other Casinos near Indianapolis
While there are numerous casinos spread out all throughout the upper Midwest, all of them are at least 100 miles from Indianapolis.
Some of these are racinos with only electronic gaming devices, while others are more Las Vegas-style resorts complete with hotels, spas, and live table games.
These include the following, in order of proximity to Indianapolis:
- Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg (red star on map) – 97 miles away
- Rising Star Casino (orange star) – 104 miles
- Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati (yellow star) – 113 miles
- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (brown star) – 113 miles
- Belterra Casino Resort (green star) – 116 miles
In addition to these, Caesars Southern Indiana is 124 miles away, or a two hour drive.
Belterra Park Gaming, just a little southeast of downtown Cincinnati is only 121 miles away, however I’m not including it on the map as they only have the video lottery terminals rather than real slot machines and therefore may not be worth a two hour drive for many of you.
* Sports betting became legal in the state of Indiana on September 1st, 2019.
* According to figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission, roughly 77% of all sports bets placed in the state are wagered on mobile phones.
* The Horseshoe Indianapolis Casino, and Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino are both owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment.
By Steve Beauregard. Indiana Grand Casino photo courtesy of Indiana Office of Tourism Development. Harrah’s Hoosier Park Photos courtesy of Caesars Entertainment.