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“Watch your pockets!”

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Empress River Casino
Ranked #14 of 26 things to do in Joliet
Attraction details
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
102 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Watch your pockets!”
Reviewed March 14, 2009

They've got a new buffet, but watch out! First off, if you're not a 'privileged' member, you've got to wait until they are all taken care of first, no matter if you were next in line. They don't even give you the silverware from "that side" of the register counter. And you will be seated outside the roped-off area (which is no better seating, except that everyone knows you're 'big money'). If you pay with a credit or debit card, bam! they gotchya' again, tacking on a 16% "gratuity", but it won't show on the receipt. No one will tell you this. It's in the fine print, at the very bottom of the receipt that they place on the table when they seat you. You must read the receipt (if you remember to pick it up at all), which is usually after your meal (and after you have left your server a tip). Very sneaky and underhanded. As for the casino, it's all smoke, rather small, and meant for the rich and those not worried about losing big bucks. There are only a handful of less-than-25cent slots, which of course are always busy. If there's a recession, watching the folks in this casino would sure make you wonder. Finally, something that really threw me off balance--children--running up and down the hallways, in groups of 2, 3, 4 and more, aged around 2 (toddler) to 10+. There are signs posted that children are not to be left unattended. No matter. There are other sites to be seen and enjoyed by the entire family--save your money and visit downtown Chicago!

3 Thank SmokieBr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Going downhill fast”
Reviewed September 5, 2008

As the other poster pointed out, this used to be a decent casino a few years ago. Ever since the last year or so, the place is dead. I'm not sure if it's due to the smoking ban or the numerous other top-notch casinos going up in Indiana and Michigan, but I frankly don't know how this casino stays in business. I go on Fridays and Saturdays (peak casino days) and I almost fall asleep at the tables it's that slow. I think they need to follow Hammond Indiana's idea and gut the whole thing and start fresh....including getting rid of 90% of their gaming staff. I have never come across such rude dealers in all of my gaming experience. I've complained twice, they were that bad. And I hate to be suspicious because i'm sure it's unlikely, but everytime i play Blackjack, the cards are almost always in favor of the dealer. I've seen huge losses at this place more often than not and one can only suspect...You're better off going to Harrahs or the Horeshoe Casino. At least they give you a $5 comp every now and then.

6 Thank jess921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joliet, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Declining Quality”
Reviewed July 18, 2008

What's going on at this place? My first visit to this casino was two summers ago, and I thought it was awesome. I have been back around ten times since then, and every time i enjoy it less. It used to be very clean and sharp looking. Now it looks and smells dirtier every time. Payouts used to be pretty fair to everyone. However, in recent times, it seems like the only people who are winning consistantly are the ones who either tip the dealers constantly or know the dealers personally. I have seen this on my past three or four trips, particularly at the roulette wheel and the three card poker tables. The roulette at this casino is just a bummer all the way around. I've seen the entire board covered in bets except for two or three numbers many times, and it almost never fails that it's one of those two or three numbers not covered that hit. On top of that, a good 90% of the dealers I've experienced while playing roulette here are very rude and/or obnoxious. I've also come to find out after visiting other casinos in Illinois and Nevada that this particular casino doesn't have a clue when it comes to comps. I live in Joliet, and frankly it's embarassing that this casino happens to be in my town. If they could start doing whatever they were doing prior to 2007 again, then this would still be an awesome place to visit once in a while.

4 Thank TrueGambler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Nice layout, larger than most Illinois casinos”
Reviewed August 21, 2007

This is an attractive casino. I went for the first time yesterday & enjoyed my visit. We went late on a Tuesday night so what I experienced may not be typical of more crowded times. It is about 50,000 square feet total with two floors. I just play slots, so I cannot comment on the table games. They had a nice selection of slot machines, I did better on nickles than dollars, which was a surprise. I went straight from Harrah's in Joliet to this casino. My husband liked this casino MUCH better than Harrah's, primarily due to it's larger size. (He isn't much of a gambler; just went becaue I like to gamble.) I actually had better luck at Harrah's, but based on only one visit to both, I can't really say if one was tighter than the other. It was less smokey than Harrah's, but we also went there later in evening & it was midweek. Overall, it was worth the 1.5 hrs drive from the Northwest suburbs.

2 Thank Chicagolady2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Tight machines, no comps, hotel dirty”
Reviewed June 26, 2006

Recently stayed at the Empress Casino Hotel in Joliet, Illinois. Room was dirty, dirty, dirty and desperately needed to be redone. Smelled like old smoke even though this was a non-smoking room. Bare bones amenities. Rooms were noisy. Shuttle service between casino and hotel was very slow and in fact, wasn't running at 2:00 A.M. when it was time to go back to the room. Slots at casino were very tight and nobody was winning. Spent $2800 within a few hours and was told that I did not earn any comps at all - just cash reward. Food was overpriced at the Cafe. Food was barely edible at the buffet. Food at snack bar was okay but overpriced. I have visited this property many, many times over the past 10 years. It is sad to see how far it has fallen. Choose another casino or hotel.

22 Thank mmoj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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