Tennessee has recently made big strides toward legalizing gambling. The Sports Gaming Act, passed by Tennessee Congress in early 2020, authorizes sports betting providers to launch online sports betting operations within the state. But while this is a great victory for sports betting enthusiasts, Tennessee still does not allow land-based casinos in any capacity.
As a result, any Tennessee residents wishing to enjoy a classic casino experience must head to retail casinos in nearby states. This guide will break down the top five casinos you can find closest to Tennessee borders and Nashville in particular. This way, you’ll always know where you can go if you want to have a great time at a casino without having to drive too far or rely on offshore or illegal casino sites.
Top Five Casinos Closest To Tennessee And Nashville
While you won’t be able to visit any casinos in Tennessee anytime soon, the good news is that there are plenty of excellent casinos pretty close to the Tennessee border. Even better, many of these top casinos are close to Nashville. At worst, you’ll only need to drive for a few hours to get to one of these locations.
Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel & Casino
Miles from Nashville, Tennessee: About 150 miles
This first pick also has plenty of history. It first opened in 1994 as a riverboat casino. Indeed, the main casino floor was located on a docked riverboat! However, this casino underwent serious renovations in 2014 and now has more “classic” looking casino premises (although Harrah’s Metropolis is still pretty close to the Ohio River).
Located in Illinois, this casino is a relatively small establishment compared to many of the retail or brick-and-mortar casinos you can find in Las Vegas. But it offers a lot of excellent gambling activities fitted within its small size.
For instance, Harrah’s Metropolis includes about 800 slot machines and over 100 video poker machines. Enthusiasts of these games will find a lot to like here. But there’s also a variety of table games, including 21 different varieties of blackjack, roulette, mini-baccarat, 3-card poker, craps, and more. The casino even has a small poker room for dedicated games and occasional tournaments.
But that’s not all. Harrah’s Metropolis is also home to three restaurants, including a table service restaurant and a buffet for late-night gambling enthusiasts. Additional amenities include a bar that includes live music played on weekends, a hotel with 258 separate hotel rooms, and more.
Just keep in mind that the casino is smoking free and there are odd operational hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 am every day. Still, there’s plenty of excellent stuff to enjoy for Tennessee casino enthusiasts looking for something relatively close to Nashville.
Tropicana Evansville Hotel & Casino
Miles from Nashville, Tennessee: About 153 miles
Next on the list is Tropicana Evansville, which is the second closest casino to Nashville and located in Indiana. It’s also a relative newcomer to the casino scene, having opened in 2017. From Nashville, it’s only about a two-and-a-half-hour drive away. Like Harrah’s Metropolis, it used to be a riverboat casino. It was transformed into a land-based establishment when Indiana’s gaming law changed.
The new premises? A 75,000 square-foot building with a whopping 45,000 ft.² space dedicated to the casino alone. Within this space, Tropicana includes over 1100 slot machines, a dedicated poker room, and 30 extra table games on top of all that. Since sports betting is legal within Indiana borders, hop on over to William Hill’s sportsbook, which is housed in this casino.
In addition to the casino activities and gambling arenas, the Tropicana comes with a 243-room hotel, a handful of restaurants and bars, plus a conference space and extra entertainment venues. Music City residents will be pleased to know that musical events and other entertainers come here all the time, making this a particularly good place for social casino-goers more interested in the casino environment or aesthetic than just gambling.
Caesars Southern Indiana
Miles from Nashville, Tennessee: About 191 miles
Want something else? You can head down to just outside Louisville, Kentucky, where you’ll find this Caesars casino sitting right on the banks of the Ohio River. It’s still in Indiana, of course, but it gets a lot of traffic from all three states since it’s close to so many borders.
This is also one of the largest casinos in the area, featuring over 110,000 ft.² of casino space that takes just over three hours to reach by car if you were to leave from Nashville.
There’s a lot to like here, and not just the additional space compared to the above two options. For instance, this Caesars-brand establishment features over 1200 slot machines and video poker games. In addition, gambling enthusiasts can check out 87 table games that span the classics, including craps, blackjack, mini-baccarat, roulette, and much more.
We also really like that this casino comes with a 16-table poker room, plus a spacious sportsbook so sports betting enthusiasts can also find something to entertain themselves with here. A 500-room hotel and a whopping seven restaurants round out the casino experience, making this one of the best casinos for long-term stays due to the wide array of activities available.
It’s nestled in green forest country as well, so it’s a pretty agreeable spot year-round. Music City residents (and Tennessee residents in general) would do well to make the over 3-hour drive to visit this Caesars casino, as it’s the largest and most expensive they are likely to find within a reasonable driving time.
Horseshoe Tunica Hotel and Casino
Miles from Nashville, Tennessee: About 240 miles
Last, but certainly not least, is this 63,000 ft.² casino located on the banks of the Mississippi River. It’s a bit of a drive from Nashville and other parts of Tennessee. However, the trip is worthwhile if you can stand the journey.
For instance, it features 10 poker tables (decent for a midsize casino), 70 gaming tables, and over 1300 slot and video poker machines. The casino games here are mostly classic card games like Texas Hold ‘Em and blackjack. However, you can also find games like roulette and Let it Ride.
This casino is perhaps best enjoyed by those looking for a well-rounded casino or resort experience. It includes a 500-room hotel and six restaurants in total. Most of these offer sit-down, classic dining experiences, though a buffet is included as well for late-night casino-goers.
But this casino also includes a separate bar, a fitness center, and a golf driving range. This is one of the few casinos relatively close to Nashville that offers golfing as an activity. Add to that the aforementioned scenic environment on the banks of the Mississippi River. Horseshoe Tunica is a good pick for many.
The Palace Casino Resort
Miles from Nashville, Tennessee: About 500 miles
If you’re amenable to driving a little longer from Nashville, or if you’re closer to the southern border of Tennessee, you might consider checking out the Palace Casino Resort in Mississippi. It’s quite a long drive away, located at the southern tip of Mississippi, but the experience is well worth it in the end.
The Palace Casino Resort is a decently sized establishment that may not come close to the size of Caesars, but it still boasts over 38,000 ft.² of gaming space alone.
Within this space, Palace Casino includes over 1000 slot and video poker machines as well as 30+ table games. It’s open 24 hours a day, whereas most casinos near Nashville are not. Available table games include roulette, blackjack, craps, 3-card poker, and Mississippi Stud.
It’s a really nice casino if you want to spend a few days away from it all and treat yourself to a mini vacation. That’s because it includes a 234-room hotel, two bars, five restaurants, and, most importantly, a full-service spa for all guests. Thus, this casino is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy some of your favorite casino games at the same time. An additional 24-hour fitness center is included so you can keep up with your exercise routine.
Tennessee Online Gambling FAQ
Recently, Tennessee legislators passed the Sports Gaming Act, which authorized sports betting online. Alongside the Tennessee Lottery, these are the only two types of gambling activities currently legal within Tennessee borders, aside from a few games for charity like Bingo.
Thus, recent sports betting legislation did not include provisions for casinos, either online or brick-and-mortar. While this is nice for sports betting enthusiasts (who do not need to check in with a retail casino to finish registering for a mobile sportsbook), it’s a bit of a downer for casino fans.
This is in line with Tennessee’s general anti-gambling outlook, though the winds may indeed be changing.
It’s tough to say. At the moment, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee does not anticipate allowing any future gambling legalization acts through his desk. This is because he doesn’t believe gambling activities to be particularly valuable to the state or its people.
However, states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey are demonstrating more than ever the potential benefits of allowing gambling activities. The state governments are garnering huge revenue boosts from these activities (since winnings are taxable). At the same time, people are enjoying their favorite casino or sports betting events as they please.
If Tennessee’s recent sports betting legislation turns out to be a success, and the government sees a big spike in revenue, it’s possible that the government’s tune about casino legalization may change. In effect, casino legalization successes in other states may inspire Tennessee to copy them in the future.
Yes. Since sweepstakes casinos do not allow players to wager real money, they technically aren’t a form of outlawed gambling. Sweepstakes casinos and websites use Sweeps Coins and Gold Coins. These are both types of digital currencies meant for online gaming.
Sweepstakes casinos essentially work like this:
- Players purchase Gold Coin packages to use on sweepstakes casino games
- With each Gold Coin package purchase, players get a few Sweeps Coins to play with sweepstakes specific games
- When a player wins a sweeps game, they can potentially get a cash prize. However, players can’t receive cash prizes for playing games that take Gold Coins
This allows players to enjoy casino or poker activities without technically breaking any laws. Well-known and reviewed sweepstakes casino sites include LuckyLand Slots and Chumba Casino. Both include slots games, and Chumba offers a limited number of other digital table games.
Many sweepstakes casino sites are legal because they don’t allow players to wager real money in any capacity. Players can still buy Gold Coins with cash, but cash is technically not put on the line with any game.
At the time of this writing, any gambling winnings in Tennessee are taxed at a rate of 1%. This is pretty low for players, so don’t worry about losing most of your winnings if you come back from a successful casino trip from out-of-state.
However, be aware that out-of-state gambling winnings are still taxable. Tennessee residents must pay tax on any out-of-state casino winnings at the end of the year.