Illinois is home to riverboat casinos, and there are 9 major casinos in Illinois. Illinois casinos have been limited by the government’s restrictions and are taxed at the highest rate in the nation. The laws also limit the amount of gaming licenses that can be issued to 9, and the state is now at the maximum for gaming licenses. Illinois casinos do, however, offer a wide range of gaming options.Illinois was the 5th state admitted to the union on December 3, 1818. It covers an area of 57,918 square miles. It is a Great Lakes state, and is nicknamed the “Prairie State”. The population, as reported in December 2000, is 12,419,293 and it is the 5th most populated state in the U.S. With the introduction of the Alton Belle, Illinois became only the second state to allow riverboat casinos. All of the casinos offer great gaming from Slots to Blackjack to Roulette, and welcome all guests over the age of 21.Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino was the first riverboat casino in Illinois, opening its doors in 1991. It is located at 1 Front Street in Alton. There are three restaurants available for guests. The casino occupies 23,000 square feet and operates from 9am to 5pm every day. It features a 1,200-passenger yacht and a barge.Argosy’s Empress Casino is located at 2300 Empress Drive in Joliet. There are 85 rooms and 17 suites available at the casino hotel. The casino operates from 10am to 4am on Friday and from 10am to 4am on Saturday. There are three restaurants on site. The casino occupies 50,000 square feet, and has special features like an 80-space RV park and 2,500-passenger barge.Casino Queen is located in East Saint Louis at 200 South Front Street. There are 150 rooms and 7 suites available at the casino as well. The casino operates from 9am to 7am daily. It occupies 27,500 square feet and offers many features. Besides gaming, Casino Queen offers a 2,500-passenger paddle wheeler, a 140-space RV park and easy access to MetroLink light-rail station.These are only three of the nine Illinois casinos. They all offer special features that are worth taking a look at, like paddleboats and barges. Most casinos also offer great dining on site. Illinois casinos offer much more than gambling – they offer a great vacation experience.