Just 20 minutes from Chicago, the Horseshoe Casino is bringing a glimpse of Las Vegas glamour to the midwest. After more than two years and $485 million, the newly expanded casino didn’t skimp on the glitz or the gaming. Gold horseshoes, silver bars and Stravorski crystal are just some of the opulent details to be found inside.

The Grand Opening celebration through the weekend of August 8 was an almost endless display of stars and celebrities. Starting Friday evening, the new 3,500 seat entertainment facility called The Venue was christened with an incredible performance by Bette Midler and Josh Kelley began his national tour with a performance on the Skyline Stage. Other entertainment included DJ Evalicious, Sophie Milman, Chicago Catz and String Theory.

The next day, The Venue hosted the first Smashing Pumpkins concert in the area since the group was reunited. After that, VIP guests were treated to Roger Taylor of Duran Duran as he deejayed the afterparty – his first official deejay appearance in the US. The excitement and stardom continued all month with the Stone Temple Pilots (Aug. 14), Billy Idol (Aug. 16), Sarah Silverman (Aug. 29) and Liza Minnelli (Aug. 30).

Stars on hand to enjoy the festivities included Tara Reid (American Pie), Bethenny Frankel and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (Real Housewives of NYC), Cheryl Burke (Dancing With The Stars), John Scurti (Rescue Me), Noah Bean (Damages) and Esai Morales (Jericho). Also seen was professional poker player Phil Gordon and celebrity chef Art Smith. Smith referred to the opening gala as “the biggest party in the Midwest”.

It’s easy to see why the stars or anyone would be attracted to the new Horseshoe. The expansion created gambling space the size of 6 football fields, over 100,000 square feet. Two new gaming areas were built into the design, the Poker Room and the Asian Gaming Area. The new poker room features 34 tables including baccarat tables, blackjack and a private area called Benny’s Back Room. The Asian Gaming Area offers the most popular games among Asian gamblers like Pai Gow Tiles, Pai Gow Poker and more baccarat tables.

Slot lovers will find plenty to keep themselves busy, as well, with over 3,200 machines throughout the casino. Over 1,000 progressives will certainly make the slot machines attractive to all. Also available is the new video poker area, 20 seat keno area and the special high-limit slot room. With four main dining areas and two bars, visitors won’t lack for choice in refreshment as they gamble the night away.

The Horseshoe Casino is owned and operated by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.