By Steve Beauregard
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).
Per state law, neither are allowed to offer live table games. In addition, both casinos, the Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, are in the process of being acquired by Caesars Entertainment in a $1.7 billion dollar deal.
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino is just 27 miles from downtown Indianapolis
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 Indiana Grand, while the black star is Hoosier Park. The 5 other stars represent other nearby casinos)
Indiana Grand Racing & 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, and is 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 the Horseshoe Hammond).
In its 233,000 square foot building, you’ll find 2,200 slot machines/video poker machines. Included in this total are a variety of electronic table games, including electronic craps, blackjack and roulette.
Poker and Live Games?
There aren’t any live table games here, however the Indiana Grand does have a 10 table poker room. However these are all the Poker Pro electronic tables. You still play against other players, however there isn’t a dealer. It’s like a live version of online poker.
The room starts games at $1/3 No-Limit, and has tournaments most days of the week at a $50 buy-in.
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
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino has two bars and four restaurants, including the requisite casino buffet, a steakhouse, traditional café, and a brewpub in which you can participate in OTB (off-track betting) while you eat.
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 Indiana Grand.
Address and phone
4300 N. Michigan Road
Shelbyville, IN 46176
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino
(Black Star on map)
The second closest casino to Indianapolis, 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 race track opened in 1994), Hoosier Park’s casino has 2,000 slot machines and video poker machines. They don’t have live table games, but do have the electronic versions of blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat.
Hoosier Park does not have a poker room.
(Related: Casinos in Columbus, Ohio)
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.
Restaurants and Entertainment
Among the seven restaurants here are a brew pub, deli, buffet, steakhouse, and Mexican restaurant. An eight dining option is open seasonally during the live racing season.
In addition to a 1,200 indoor showroom, the racino hosts big-name acts at a 4,200 seat outdoor music venue.
One last note, Hoosier Park offers roundtrip shuttle service (for a fee), from Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Fort Wayne. Prices depend on location, but start at just $10, and includes $10 in casino cash.
Hoosier Park does not have a hotel attached to the casino.
Address and Phone
4500 Dan Patch Circle
Anderson, IN. 46013
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 similar to the two mentioned above, 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 away.
Jack 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, the Horseshoe 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 is not worth a two hour drive.
Indiana Grand Casino photo courtesy of Indiana Office of Tourism Development