Casino loyalty program
Back in March of 2009 “Indiana Live” casino opened near Shelbyville, Indiana, about 30 miles southeast of Indianapolis. The pari-mutuel race track had opened in April of 2003. Over the years the facility had a few different owners, a couple of names and many improvements. Recently the latest name change came into play: Horseshoe Indianapolis is the new name for this Caesars Entertainment Inc. casino.
New name posted
The racetrack is going through some massive changes, renovations and additions. There is a new 50 room dorm for the backstretch workers. There is also a 105 stall winterized barn that will open soon. The casino itself is going through some massive additions, including new carpet and lighting throughout, 25,000 new square feet of gaming floor with 225 new slots and 10 new table games. In addition there is now a new World Series of Poker game room in use.
Hopefully the casino will soon reopen its eating facilities. They had a great buffet, a casual restaurant and a high end steakhouse, none of these have reopened. The only food available now is at what they call a “Sidewalk Cafe”, serving a limited menu. Racing does start again in April.
Sher and I always enjoyed casinos either at home or while traveling. COVID-19 stopped that for over a year. Being vaccinated, we’re slowly getting back to “doing things”. After some discussion, we figured it was time to try the Indiana Grand casino near us. (Indiana Grand is a casino and thoroughbred race track, part of the Caesars’ gaming company.)
We hoped a weekday afternoon visit might avoid having to face a big crowd. That strategy worked well, as the parking lots and garage were not filled as we remembered from pre-covid days. The first change we noticed was the requirement to show your driver’ license, the information of which was recorded. The Security fellow said it was for ‘contact tracing’ if needed. Hmmm…
Masks were required, except when you are eating or drinking. The self serve coffee and soda stations have morphed into refreshment stations where an employee serves you your free coffee or soda. Bottled beer was also available for purchase.
Sher enjoyed Great Gorilla slots. By the way Gorilla was very generous this session…
The slot machines were spaced further apart than before. A set of 3 machines had only the two outside positions open. Basically, at any machine you were 6 feet away from the closest player. The blackjack table games had limited seating as well. The only place we saw folks not social distancing was at the Roulette and Craps tables.
Things are definitely different: the buffet is a thing of the past with food available at a snack bar and one restaurant. The noise level is much less. The volume on the slot machines seem to be much lower than pre-covid. With the slot spacing you don’t feel as “crowded”. Oh, and people watching isn’t nearly as much fun with everybody in masks! All in all we did feel comfortable being out in the casino. Good to have that back.
The Indiana Grand Casino, located between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, has been closed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirteen Indiana casinos were ordered closed on March 16th for a minimum of two weeks. The Grand is our favorite casino when we are in Indiana. The other day we took a drive to “get out of the house” for awhile. Our son drove us by the casino. What a difference from the norm!
Main entrance canopy
The main entrance of the casino is without the usual swarm of valet using vehicles. The huge square under the “GRAND” sign is normally lit up with signage. The pond in the foreground of the picture normally has three big fountains going.
The parking garage, five levels of it, is now completely empty of vehicles. A casino pickup truck blocks the entrance. The west side of the facility, home of the second entrance and the main valet parking lot is also empty. A pair of the casino’s many shuttle buses are blocking that entrance.
The huge parking lots are obviously closed. The normally busy multi-lane road in front of the casino and parking lot is nearly deserted. Only an occasional local resident drives by now. The whole site looks like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. As more and more states (and countries, for that matter) are ordering lock downs and stay at home rules we’ll see more and more views of empty businesses, streets, subway stations and highways.
President Trump said yesterday that he “sees light at the end of the tunnel” and that he wants “everything raring to go for Easter”. What do you think?
Indiana’s Governor Holcomb went on the air at noon today to announce that even more measures are needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Indiana has seen a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed cases, and, tragically, an increase in the number of Hoosiers that have perished due to COVID-19.
Today Sher and I decided to take a drive to get us out of the house for a while. Our son (who does our shopping for us) drove. It was nice to get out. We saw a definite decrease in traffic at the grocery stores and big box stores. The eateries had their quickly made signs up offering take out food service only.
Nearly empty lot at Cracker Barrel: carry out only
Like many other regions in the country there have been recommendations to restrict the gathering of people in order to keep the spread of the virus down. Here the number went from 250 to 50 rather quickly. Within days restaurants, bowling alleys, arcades and theaters were closed. Soon after Indiana’s casinos also were closed. Now with the new Executive order from the Governor, Indiana will lock down this Wednesday at midnight. Folks are to stay home, work from home if possible. Stores are closing, well, you know how it works.
` Indiana Grand Casino closed. Even the pond fountains are turned off.
Where is this pandemic going? How bad is it going to get? Looking at New York, California and Washington State it is already pretty grim. Gov. Holcomb said more is needed to be done here to stop the spread. Trump says one thing, Dr. Fauci says something else. FEMA says they are getting the masks out. ER doctors across the nation say they don’t have enough masks. Testing? Who has a clue as to what is really going on there.
Wishing all our friends the best as we get through this trying time. Stay in, stay safe and remember to wash those hands. We are really looking forward to when we can get back on the road again.
We saw that Caesars Entertainment out of Las Vegas had just bought the Indiana Grand Racing Casino as well as the Hoosier Park casino and racetrack from Centaur Gaming. We went out to the Indiana Grand to see what differences Caesars had brought to the place.
Other than some banners and signs calling out the Caesars name, we did not see any changes at all. The slots were the same. Our old players reward cards were still working, adding points as they always did. The half price buffet is still offered on Mondays for us “Golden Gamers” (folks 50 and over).
On Saturday, July 28th Caesars has a pretty wild promotion give-away day planned. They are calling it “An evening of winning” with $60,000 in cash prizes awarded over the evening. Enter and get a chance to spin the wheel for an instant prize of $1,000! Time will tell what changes Caesars has in store for their new Indiana properties. Be sure to check out the Indiana Grand website and the Caesars website for more info.
The Indiana Grand Racing Casino is 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis in the center of the state. When you get your Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards players card and are 50 and over you are tagged a “Golden Gamer”. Mondays are the best days for seniors at this popular casino.
On Mondays “Golden Gamers” get the Grand Buffet for half price. This is a great deal, especially for the lunch buffet (open 11 to 4). It is a full buffet with a great variety of foods. Half price makes the meal about $7.00 and includes your drink. You get half price for dinner starting at 4, but it will be about twice the lunch price, but will have more selections of entrees.
You do not have to gamble to get your free Total Rewards players card card. Take advantage of the great buffet discounts on Mondays. Swipe your player’s card at one of the kiosks and get your 1/2 price coupon. Oh, and there is plenty of RV parking, with 24 hour shuttles to and from your rig. For information visit the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino website.