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WarHorse Casino Lincoln Delays Nebraska Sports Betting Launch

Written By J.R. Duren on May 31, 2023
Nebraska Sports Betting Delay

Nebraska sports bettors will have to wait just a little bit longer to place their first in-person wager.

WarHorse Casino Lincoln announced it had to push back the launch of its Kambi Sportsbook because vendor applications are caught up in a backlog, according to Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) Executive Vice President Lynne McNally.

“Sports betting, as you know, is a relatively new industry in the United States. And there are many jurisdictions trying to go live at the same time — we’re just one of quite a few that are trying to go live,” McNally told Omaha’s KETV. “So, you know, we’re having to kind of stand in line a little bit, but it’s not going to be long and we’re going to be licensed and ready to go.”

The casino anticipates it will be ready to open its sportsbook by June 2 for the start of the College World Series tournament. It had planned to open by the end of May.

Wagering delay adds to slow Nebraska sports betting process

Nebraska legislators approved a bill to legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks back in 2021. However, it wasn’t until this year that the bill actually went into effect.

And, unlike other states with mobile sports betting, there wasn’t a rush of sportsbook launches when sports wagering was officially legal. Nebraska has just two properties that are eligible to offer sports betting: WarHorse Lincoln and Grand Island Casino Resort. And only one of those—WarHorse—has a sportsbook.

What sports betting will look like at WarHorse Lincoln

WarHorse’s Kambi Sportsbook is a relatively modest one. Video of the facility reveals a few sports betting kiosks and at least one sports betting window.

Lincoln is the second-most populous city in the state, so WarHorse will have a relatively big market to work with. The casino may be able to pull some foot traffic from Omaha, the state’s biggest city, but the chances of that are relatively low. Omaha residents can just hop over the Iowa border to place mobile sports wagers.

Additionally, WarHorse will have a monopoly on the Nebraska sports betting market for the foreseeable future. The only other casino eligible to offer sports betting, Grand Island Casino Resort, has no plans to open a sportsbook. Mobile sports betting is still illegal in Nebraska.

That being said, in-person sports betting (“retail”) isn’t nearly as lucrative as mobile sports betting. So, WarHorse’s revenue numbers aren’t going to be staggering. The sportsbook’s revenue numbers won’t hit their stride until the NFL season starts in September. From there, numbers should be healthy through March. Sports betting handle (money bet) could reach a couple of million dollars during the NFL season.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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