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Nebraska Adds Third Casino With Harrah’s Ag Park In Columbus

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on June 12, 2023
Faded Marquee Lights with Harrah's Logo and Columbus, Nebraska

The third Nebraska casino is officially open for business.

Caesars Entertainment opened its temporary Harrah’s casino at Ag Park in Columbus on Monday. Caesars and Columbus Exposition and Racing (CER) have been working since 2021 to bring a state-of-the-art casino to Columbus. 

For now, the exhibit hall at Ag Park is the site of the temporary casino until its permanent facility along Highway 81, northwest of Columbus, is complete.

The permanent Nebraska casino will be outfitted with over 500 slot machines and 14 table games, plus a 1-mile racetrack. In total, the Harrah’s casino and sportsbook will span roughly 28,000 square feet. The permanent location is expected to open in the spring of 2024.

Temporary Harrah’s casino at Ag Park

Customers flocking to Harrah’s temporary location at Ag Park can expect 250 slot machines and electronic table games.

Speaking with the Columbus Telegram on Saturday, Caesars Entertainment Regional President Todd Connelly said it had been a long journey to get to this point. 

“It’s been a long road from ‘where do you start a casino?’ – it has to go in into this building at Ag (Park) and working out a deal with that group of great individuals from Columbus,” Connelly said. 

“Our design and construction teams (made) it happen (from a) facility that was just a bare building; now it’s an amazing casino.”

Nebraska went from zero casinos to three in a short time

With the opening of Harrah’s at Ag Park, Nebraska now finds itself in uncharted waters.

WarHorse Lincoln and Grand Island Casino Resort are the other two temporary casinos up and running. In March, both facilities combined to generate $1.55 million in gaming taxes, which will undoubtedly increase with the addition of Harrah’s. 

Grand Island’s temporary casino at Fonner Park racetrack recently announced an expansion, with its permanent facility set to open by 2025.

The permanent WarHorse Casino in southwest Lincoln was eyeing a September opening. However, state regulators expressed concerns about granting the state’s first permanent casino license over a Zoom meeting.

As a result, the consideration of WarHorse’s permanent license has been moved to Sept. 23.

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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