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 Indiana Grand, while the black star is Harrah’s 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.
The Indiana Grand’s lineup of 61 live table games include dice craps, blackjack, roulette, EZ Baccarat, Mississippi Stud, Face Up Pai Gow, and Ulitmate Texas Hold’em, among others. Table game minimums of $15 are not uncommon – especially on busy nights.
The casino no longer has a poker room, as it has been converted to a high limit room. Limits can change, but there’s been as low as $50 blackjack here.
The Winner’s Circle is Indiana Grand’s new sportsbook. 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 Center Cut Steakhouse, the Grand Buffet, The Sidewalk Cafe, and the Winner’s Circle sports pub, in which you can bet on games or horse races 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, Phone & Website
Shelbyville, IN 46176
Website: Indiana Grand Casino
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 race 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 28 live table games. These include four roulette wheels, two craps games, Three-card poker, Mississippi Stud, and 18 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 have “The Book”, which is what Caesars Entertainment properties call their 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)
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.
Restaurants and Entertainment
Among the six restaurants here are the Voodoo BBQ & Grill, Caballo Loco Grill & Cantina, the Prime Harvest Buffet, The Homestretch Steakhouse, and the Dog n Suds (for hot dogs, burgers, shakes and the like). An seventh dining option is open seasonally during the live racing season.
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, 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 a $10 meal voucher.
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.
Address, Phone & Website
Anderson, IN. 46013
Website: Harrah’s Hoosier Park Casino
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:
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, 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 is not worth a two hour drive.
* 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 Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, and Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino are both owned by Eldorado Resorts, which acquired them via their purchase of Caesars Entertainment. As with most other casinos in the chain, the properties are still branded and run by Caesars.
By Steve Beauregard. Indiana Grand Casino photo courtesy of Indiana Office of Tourism Development. Harrah’s Hoosier Park Photos courtesy of Caesars Entertainment.