These days, it seems you can't travel more than 100 miles in any given direction without running into a casino or some manner of gambling facility. A la Las Vegas, these days, casinos are more than just places to roll the dice; they cater to the non-gamblers with leisure activities.
Illinois & Iowa
What: Jumer's Hotel & Quad Cities (www.jumerscasinohotel.com)
Where: Quad Cities: Rock Island and Moline, Illinois; Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa.
When: Opened December 2008
Stats: 42,00 square feet, 1,100 slot machines, 24 table games, live poker, high limit slot room; 205 hotel rooms, salon and spa. Why Else Might You Go There: With four cities (www.visitquadcities.com) at your disposal, there's a lot you can do. Get a glimpse of American agricultural history at the John Deere Pavilion or take a river cruise on the mighty Mississippi.
What: Harrah's Horseshoe Casino (www.chicagohorseshoe.com)
Where: Hammond, Indiana.
When: Opened August 2008
Stats: 350,000 square feet, 3,200 slot machines, 100 table games, largest poker room in Midwest; keno; no hotel on site. There's a live entertainment space called The Venue and dining options include Jack Binion's Steak House, which overlooks Lake Michigan.
Why Else Might You Go There: It's best to base yourself in Chicago (www.explorechicago.org), which is 20 minutes away; free shuttles can take you to the casino and back.
What: Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel (www.turtlecreekcasino.com)
Where: Traverse City
When: Opened June 2008
Stats: The casino has a 54,000 square foot interactive gaming floor, 1,300 slots, 40 table games, poker room; also, restaurants, bars and night clubs. The hotel has 137 guestrooms and 10 suites.
Why Else Might You Go There: Located in northern Michigan, Traverse City (www.visittraversecity.com) is a lakeside destination with beaches, golfing, wineries, lighthouses, and more.
What: Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (www.pasands.com)
When: Opened May 2009
Stats: There are no table games, but 3,000 slot machines, 300+ hotel rooms (not completed yet), nine restaurants, 200,000 square feet of outlet shopping. It's the largest casino in Pennsylvania and a significant redevelopment project on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel. It's also home to Emeril Lagasse's Chop House, the chef's only restaurant in the northeast.
Why Else Might You Go There: If you live in New York or Philadelphia, you've no doubt seen the ads telling you it's closer than you think--Bethlehem is a little over and hour west of New York and north of Philadelphia in the Lehigh Valley (www.lehighvalleypa.org).