Construction Underway At Fonner Park ‘Racino’

Written By Derek Helling on October 25, 2022
nebraska fonner park casino grand island

Grand Island is set to become a little grander. After the Nebraska Racing & Gaming Commission signed off on final plans for a temporary Fonner Park casino facility, construction is officially underway to bring slots and table games to the track.

When complete, the facility will offer most of the gaming and a little less than half of the slot machines that the bigger, permanent facility will boast. Grand Island residents and visitors won’t have to wait until that larger facility is ready to start playing this way.

Fonner Park casino is officially on the way

According to The Grand Island Independent, Fonner Park can now get on its mark and go. While the casino officials hoped to get the temporary facility open by Thanksgiving 2022, that looks unlikely now. There is no official timeline for when the temporary location could open currently.

However, Fonner Park plans to make hires soon, holding a job fair on Wednesday through Friday of this week. Upon opening, the temporary casino will offer 300 slot machines and self-service kiosks for betting on both live and simulcast horse races. Patrons will have access to a snack bar and an Elite Casinos Resort Club VIP area.

Sometime next year, Fonner Park plans to add some gaming tables to the temporary location. Specifically, guests will find blackjack, craps, and roulette. While this will represent a mere shell of Elite’s grand designs, it’s still a significant upgrade on the current entertainment options at the track.

The grand plans for the future

Investors plan to spend $100 million to turn Fonner Park into a full-fledged “racino.” The permanent facility includes space for over 20 gaming tables and as many as 850 slot machines plus amenities like a hotel, pools, restaurants, a salon, and a spa.

In addition, Nebraskans will be able to use the physical Elite Sportsbook inside the casino as well to place bets on sporting events. Like with the temporary facility, there is no firm date for when Elite plans to open the permanent casino.

That facility could greatly build upon the early success that one Nebraska casino has enjoyed. The first week of gaming at a temporary casino in Lincoln, Nebraska collected almost $286,000 in tax revenue.

With construction now underway, Fonner Park could start adding to that total soon.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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