Grand Island Casino To Benefit Horse Racing Industry

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on December 28, 2022
Grand Island Casino Resort now open in Nebraska

The first casino in Central Nebraska is now open for business. 

The Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park is a temporary location. But the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) said it will re-evaluate plans to move the casino into its permanent building following the 2023 Nebraska State Fair.  

Great day for the Nebraska casino industry

The newest Nebraska casino comes from Elite Casino Resorts and features 260 slot machines, horse betting kiosks and a snack bar. 

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Cindy Johnson, President of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, said now is the time to celebrate this new attraction. 

“Today is a great day for Grand Island, it’s a great day to celebrate a new business, to celebrate the extension and expansion of the additional attraction to this community.”

Casino officials also plan to add table games like blackjack and craps in the coming months. 

Economic benefits all around

State Senators Tom Briese and Raymond Aguilar were also present on opening day. 

“As everyone knows, a lot of these profits goes into tax relief, a lot goes to the tracks for better horses, everybody benefits from it down the road,” Sen. Aguilar said.

Already the industry is contributing tax revenue. In December, the latest revenue report from the NRGC showed WarHorse Casino generated $1.95 million in tax revenue since opening in September. WarHorse in Lincoln, was the first casino to open in Nebraska.

In addition to tax relief, the casino also provided jobs for 110 employees. 

“We know this job isn’t for everybody, we offer a lot of nights and weekends, but we offer good benefits. We are always looking for people who have customer experience, someone who’s friendly, outgoing and happy,” said Vince Fiala, general manager of the Grand Island casino.

Kris Kotulak, Fonner Park CEO, said the casino would also assist horse trainers, owners and breeders.

“This concourse was for craft shows, and motorcycle and car shows, and now is for something even more special,” Kotulak said.

“It [the money] will return back to the community like you have never seen before, the businesses and shops along South Locust and all through the city they are all going to really rise and elevate because of all of the money that’s coming to town now for entertainment purposes.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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