Chicagoans may not need to travel to Indiana casinos for long, but the four properties within a short drive will always play a role in the area’s casino economy.
Northern Indiana’s casinos have thrived for years due to their proximity to the Windy City, offering an ever-growing array of attractions to add to the casino floor.
Bally’s Chicago will shake up the landscape when its permanent casino opens in 2026, gaining an immediate advantage from its River West location in the city.
However, its dominance is not a given, as Indiana Casinos have plenty of their own draws. Keep reading to learn about these properties’ offerings, including gambling, sports betting, dining, lodging and more.
Closest Indiana casinos to Chicago
Three Indiana casinos are less than a 45-minute drive from the future Bally’s Chicago site.
A fourth, Blue Chip Casino, is just over an hour away.
Horseshoe Hammond (18 miles, 25 minutes from Chicago)
Horseshoe Hammond’s roots date back to 1996, when it opened as a 54,000-square-foot riverboat casino. It now boasts 350,000 square feet of gaming space with over 1,800 slot machines and 60-plus table games.
The Caesars Sportsbook occupies 5,300 square feet with an LED video wall featuring dozens of 85-inch televisions, numerous kiosks, betting counters and comfortable seating options like recliners and plush sofas.
Hammond has also brought world-class talent to its 2,576-seat theater, The Venue, including John Legend, Alicia Keys, Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson.
The WSOP poker room is another major draw with the largest games around. It holds an annual circuit stop between February and March, with this past edition’s Main Event drawing a $1.66 million prize pool.
Ameristar Casino East Chicago (25 miles, 35 minutes from Chicago)
Ameristar East Chicago is the smallest of Indiana’s three Chicagoland casinos. Its docked riverboat has 56,000 square feet of gaming space with 1,000 slot machines, 42 table games, a 19-table baccarat room and a Barstool Sportsbook.
Ameristar also has a leg up on Horseshoe due to its onsite hotel, with 288 modern and renovated rooms to accommodate guests.
The property has five dining options, including a steakhouse, Asian restaurant and lounge. A full-service bar-style restaurant is open inside the sportsbook starting at 7 a.m. daily.
Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana (32 miles, 40 minutes from Chicago)
It didn’t take long for Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana to surpass Horseshoe Hammond as the top Indiana casino. Since opening in May 2021, the property has grown to account for more than 43% of the state’s monthly casino revenue.
Hard Rock replaced the former Majestic Star Casino, a pair of infamous riverboats that gave an unmistakable gambling feel of old. What began as a group project with Spectacle Entertainment led to Hard Rock International assuming 85% ownership after its partner experienced financial distress.
The property has 200,000 square feet of space with 1,700 slot machines and over 80 table games. It has two high-limit rooms, including one for Asian games, a Hard Rock Sportsbook and multiple bars.
Looking forward, Hard Rock plans to add a 200-room hotel onto the premises. In the meantime, it has a handful of dining options, including the renowned Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and a 2,200-plus capacity Hard Rock Live theater.
Blue Chip Casino (60 miles, 1 hour 10 minutes from Chicago)
An hour-plus out along Lake Michigan’s shoreline will bring you to Michigan City’s Blue Chip Casino. The self-proclaimed “Chicagoland’s favorite getaway” opened in 1997 and has undergone several renovations since, expanding the property to include nearly 500 hotel rooms and 65,000 square feet of gaming space.
The gaming floor is home to over 1,900 slots, the most of any Chicagoland-adjacent casino, and 42 table games. It used to have an eight-table poker room and buffet, though both have remained closed since the 2020 pandemic.
Blue Chip’s dining amenities are fewer in number than the others on this list, with a steakhouse, casual restaurant and deli. It does, however, have a full-service spa.
What about Indiana horse racing?
For those Chicagoans up for a longer drive, Indiana’s capital city has two racinos nearby.
Both Horseshoe Indianapolis and Harrah’s Hoosier Park are about three and a half hours and just over 200 miles from Chicago. They are some of the largest in the state and have horse racing tracks to accompany their full-scale casinos.