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Construction On Nebraska’s Permanent Grand Island Casino Resort Begins

Written By Derek Helling on November 6, 2023
shovel breaks ground

The days of the temporary casino gaming facility at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Nebraska are officially numbered. It’s still uncertain just what that number will be, though.

On Nov. 1, casino executives, gaming regulators, and local officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the permanent facility for casino gaming at the track. When complete, the casino will offer one of Nebraska’s most robust gambling scenes.

Nebraska’s Thoroughbred horse racing facility, Fonner Park expands

It might indeed be grand, but it’s no island. Fonner Park is one of six racetracks in Nebraska that received voter approval to expand gaming in 2020. An amendment voters added to the state constitution that year allowed tracks to add:

  • In-person sports betting
  • Slot play
  • Table games

Since then, Fonner Park has been one of three to open temporary facilities for just that purpose. The other two are WarHorse Casino in Lincoln and Columbus Casino in the town of the same name.

However, Grand Island Casino Resort was the first to add table games in Nebraska. Options there include blackjack, craps, roulette, and Texas Hold’em.

Both Grand Island and WarHorse Casino have begun accepting bets on sporting events from patrons, too. In addition to that and its eight gaming tables, Grand Island currently boasts over 300 slot machines.

However, the current offerings will pale compared to Elite’s ambitions for Grand Island.

Elite sets 2025 casino completion target

According to a news article by Leroy Triggs of KSNB, Elite’s construction partner is ready to begin work on the permanent facility soon. The project will cost upwards of $100 million.

Non-gaming amenities include a hotel with over 150 rooms, a conference center, and multiple dining options.

The permanent casino will more than double the current number of slot machines to 750. The same applies to the gaming tables, which will increase to 20. Elite officials on-site for the ceremony said they are targeting early 2025 for completion.

Grand Island is Elite’s only casino in Nebraska. Elite operates four other casinos in Illinois, Iowa, and South Dakota.

Fonner Park began live thoroughbred racing in 1954. Due to the groundbreaking, 2023 has become a year that is just as significant in the track’s history.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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