For Nebraska’s casino industry, 2023 will be the year that many future years are measured against simply because it represented several firsts. Among those initial events is the year representing the first full calendar year in which casino gaming was ongoing legally in Nebraska.
Over the year, more Nebraskans got better access to more types of regulated gambling than ever before. Due to residents’ reception of the casinos, the state also enjoyed unprecedented tax revenue from their play.
Nebraska celebrates another record tax haul in December
Gaming taxes were higher in December 2023 than in any month prior. The tax total of $1.7 million surpasses the former high mark of $1.6 million from November 2023.
December 2023’s total also represents a jump of 51.8% from December 2022. It should be noted, however, that neither Harrah’s Columbus Casino nor WarHorse Casino Omaha were operating in December 2022. It was also only the first month of business for Grand Island Casino.
The opening of both Harrah’s and WarHorse Omaha was part of the tapestry that 2023 weaved for Nebraska’s casinos. Other additions combined to produce the full impact of expanded gaming in Nebraska.
Nebraska casinos open, expand gambling in 2023
For Nebraska casinos, 2023 was significant for more reasons than just being the first full calendar year of such gaming being available in the state. As previously mentioned, the WarHorse Omaha opened in November.
Furthermore, Grand Island Casino became the first in Nebraska to offer legal table games in August. Grand Island and WarHorse Lincoln also began taking bets on sporting events from patrons during the year.
Perhaps most importantly, according to the latest computations by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission, Nebraska’s tax total from all casino gaming activity in 2o23 came to over $17.8 million. As Nebraska taxes revenue from such gaming at a rate of 20%, that signals that Nebraska’s casinos collected about $89 million in taxable revenue during 2023.
Whether 2024 will become the first $100 million year for Nebraska’s casino industry remains to be seen. Some factors suggest that could be the case.
Nebraska casinos should build on 2023’s revenue in the current year
There are two primary reasons why $89 million in revenue in a year won’t stand as the state’s standard for long. First off, all WarHorse Casino Omaha currently offers is in-person sports betting. The addition of slots and table games in 2024 will be a significant boost to revenue at that property.
Similarly, this is the first January, February, and March with legal sports betting available in Nebraska. The action on the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl LVIII, and the 2024 version of March Madness should bring in more tax revenue in that way.
Despite the potential to be quickly eclipsed, 2023 will always be special for Nebraska casinos because of how many firsts it brought to the industry.