- Is gambling legal in Michigan?
- Map of Casinos near Grand Rapids, MI
- The best and only casino near downtown Grand Rapids: Gun Lake Casino
- Casinos within 1.5 hours from Grand Rapids
- The best “up north” casinos in Michigan (within 2.5 hours of GR)
- Bonus! The best casino in Detroit: Hollywood Casino at Greektown
There are so many songs with lyrics about “getting lucky” and “staying up all night.” Certainly, those would make the perfect intro to an article about casinos near Grand Rapids, right?
Imagine my horror when I discovered in no way are these songs about “getting lucky” or “staying up all night” at one of Michigan’s world-class, premier gambling hotspots.
My face turned as red as a beet.
Anyway, let’s talk about Michigan’s smoking-hot casino scene. Put on your dress clothes – we’re getting past the velvet rope and going VIP tonight. I’m going to show you where the loosest slots and hottest tables in Michigan are.
Is gambling legal in Michigan?
What are you, a cop? You have to tell me if you are. Seriously, that’s like a law or something.
All kidding aside – yes, gambling is legal in Michigan. Table games and slot machines were legalized by then-Governor John Engler back in 1997. Internet and sports betting are newly legal, being signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, with the new laws taking effect in 2021-2022.
Now, Michigan boasts 24 casinos and counting. Michigan’s three commercial casinos are in Detroit, while our 21 tribal casinos are sprinkled throughout the state. Online gambling is also legal in this brave new world of gaming, and there are over a dozen online casinos where you can gamble using your phone or computer.
While no one will mistake Michigan for Atlantic City or Las Vegas, the casino scene has progressed by light years since 1997. Many of the casinos are replete with massive entertainment venues, multiple bars, poker rooms – the works.
If you’re looking to get in on the action, let’s look at where to find it.
Map of Casinos near Grand Rapids, MI
The best and only casino near downtown Grand Rapids: Gun Lake Casino
Gun Lake Casino is a quick 30-minute drive from GR. Hop on 131 south, take the Wayland exit, and follow the bright lights and the many, many billboards.
Gun Lake Casino has all the extra amenities you’re looking for in a casino. They offer lodging, live entertainment, and multiple bars.
On the gaming side of things, Gun Lake Casino offers slot machines, a poker room, table games, and sports betting. Head down to GLC, blow on your dice, and let’s hope that “luck be a lady tonight.”
- Address: 1123 129th Ave, Wayland, MI 49348
- Website: Gun Lake Casino
Casinos within 1.5 hours from Grand Rapids
Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort
Before GLC came to town, Soaring Eagle was the casino destination in Grand Rapids. I’ll never forget when my college buddy hit on a slot machine and won so much money he had to fill out a tax form. If you’re looking for a big slot machine payout, rub your lucky rabbit’s foot and head to Soaring Eagle.
Soaring Eagle is another casino that offers every form of gambling imaginable. Slots, table games, bingo, poker, sports betting, and more are available. There are also great drink and dining options, a resort with spa options, a pool, and other kid-friendly entertainment.
And there’s an excellent music venue. As a college student, I passed on seeing The Killers tour Hot Fuss at Soaring Eagle because the tickets were $20 (outrageously pricey for a broke University kid at the time).
Face slap. I’ll never forgive myself for that one.
Soaring Eagle is about an hour and a half northeast of Grand Rapids.
- Address: 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd. Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
- Website: Soaring Eagle
Four Winds – New Buffalo and Dowagiac
Bars, lounges, dining areas, and lodging, oh my!
Four Winds New Buffalo is another massive casino that boasts all the amenities and activities you could dream of. Maybe even some activities you wouldn’t think to dream up, like a shopping promenade. I thought we were here to make a quick buck at the tables… guys?
Ok, if shopping is more your thing, go nuts. I’ll be at the blackjack tables.
Four Winds New Buffalo is approximately an hour and a half southwest of Grand Rapids.
The Dowagiac location is also about an hour and a half away. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a more intimate casino. There is no lodging available and one dining option – plan accordingly.
- Address: 11111 Wilson Rd. New Buffalo, MI 49117
- Address 2: 58700 M-51 S, Dowagiac, MI 49047
- Website: Four Winds
FireKeeper’s Casino Hotel
While not as big as the other casinos listed so far, FireKeepers is still a world-class casino. The hotel and casino area are jaw-droppingly gorgeous buildings. Where are these casinos getting all this money from, anyway?
Ok, maybe don’t answer that.
Anyway, they’re not getting any moolah from us – we’re here to win.
Firekeepers is about an hour from Grand Rapids, in the delightful city of Battle Creek, Michigan.
- Address: 11177 E. Michigan Avenue, Battle Creek, Michigan 49014
- Website: FireKeeper’s Casino
The best “up north” casinos in Michigan (within 2.5 hours of GR)
Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel
If you’re having one of those “up north” weekends that Michigan is famous for (Ernest Hemingway even wrote about them, for Pete’s sake), swing by Turtle Creek Casino and test your luck.
Turtle Creek is another casino that offers all the amenities you could want, a beautiful hotel, slots, tables, and more.
Just under 2.5 hours from GR, but a quick trip if you’re lucky enough to be weekending in Leelanau, Traverse City, Petosky, or Charlevoix.
- Address: 7741 M-72, Williamsburg, MI 49690
- Website: Turtle Creek
Little River Casino and Resort
Don’t let the little in the name fool you – this is yet another large casino with all the fixings you’d come to expect from a Michigan casino. They’ve got a hotel, spa, multiple dining options, and a 1,600-seat amphitheater.
Hit the sprawling gaming floor, and may fortune favor you. You’ll be yelling “craps” in no time (I’m not a craps guy. Hopefully, yelling “craps” is a good thing).
- Address: 2700 Orchard Hwy, Manistee, MI 49660
- Website: Little River
Bonus! The best casino in Detroit: Hollywood Casino at Greektown
No disrespect to the other two casinos in “the D,” but the Hollywood Casino is my favorite of the bunch.
The Greektown neighborhood has such great vibes and restaurants. And the views of Detroit from the casino’s hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows are out-of-this-world amazing.
It’s a quick walk to the heart of Detroit from the Hollywood Casino (about 15 minutes). The drive to the casino from Grand Rapids is just over two hours.
- Address: 1211 Chrysler Dr, Detroit, MI 48226
- Website: Hollywood Casino