Chicago has a ways to go be considered a great gambling destination. There are a smattering of serviceable, albeit unexciting, casinos in the Chicagoland area. The best options, especially with Indiana expediting legal sports betting, are just over the eastern border of Illinois. Rivers Casino Des Plaines is the closest Illinois casino to downtown Chicago. For the record, you pronounce the ‘s’ in “Des Plaines” but not in “Illinois”. It won’t raise any eyebrows, but Rivers does the job if you’re looking to get a few wagers down between conference sessions or before your flight out of town.
The casino’s footprint is modest, wrapping the elevated, spacious center bar. There’s not much maneuverability, especially on a busy weekend night. Thought, there is a nice variety of slots and video poker. There are no good VP pay tables at the quarter level, but I’ll take what I can get from a casino so close to home.
According to their own literature, the casino offers over 50 table games. It’s a standard assortment, but baccarat seems to be the most popular and most accessible for low rollers–I saw plenty of $10 minimum baccarat on my Saturday night visit. I heard reports of abnormally high table limits, but I didn’t see anything unexpected. Blackjack, which pays 3:2, had minimums of $15 or $25 on the main floor. Craps and roulette were the same. Most of the carnival games were $10.
The restaurant options will serve day trippers well. Rivers has a good dining mix which includes fast casual options, a standard buffet, and steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog. Don’t let the name fool you, Hugo’s, which is a part of Gibson’s Restaurant Group, is more upscale than other frog themed dining destinations. The center bar, Lotus, bills itself as a “sophisticated cocktail lounge”. The drinks were fine, but not quite the quality I’d expect if promoting “acclaimed mixologists”.
Overall, Rivers Des Plaines is a modern, clean casino well located for those near Chicago’s northwest suburbs. For people wanting to visit from downtown, Rivers offers a shuttle that runs 24/7 between the casino and the Rosemont CTA Blue Line stop.
Go on the right night and you may see a local travel celebrity.
Rivers Des Plaines Quick Hits:
- Table minimums between $10 – $25
- No free drinks
- Good restaurant selection
- No tier matching currently