WarHorse Casino Omaha has won preliminary regulatory approval to offer sports betting.
The Nebraska Racing & Gaming Commission approved the casino’s request to add a designated sports betting area, kiosks and terminals. WarHorse Omaha will be the third commercial (non-tribal) casino in the state to offer sports betting.
Sports betting went live in Nebraska on June 22.
How WarHorse Omaha will change Nebraska sports betting
Should WarHorse Omaha go live in November, it will become the second WarHorse casino and third casino overall to offer retail sports betting in the Cornhusker State. The other two casinos are:
- WarHorse Casino Lincoln: Opened its sportsbook on June 22
- Grand Island Casino Resort: Opened its sportsbook on Aug. 23
As the second WarHorse with a sportsbook, the Omaha book will be another revenue generator for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the group that owns the developer responsible for WarHorse.
While the news of regulatory approval is a cause for celebration, Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) CEO Lynne McNally hopes to open the sportsbook earlier this year. The Nebraska casino will also have a horse track, which is why the NHBPA is involved.
“We just really wanted to get open as early in football season as we could,” McNally told the Omaha World-Herald. “That’s a huge chunk of sports betting. Everything else is dwarfed by the NCAA and NFL. Better late than never, I guess.”
What can we expect from Nebraska sports betting this winter?
Gambling revenue in Nebraska this September, specifically sports betting, generated $1.58 million in tax revenue, up 2% over August. Once the new Omaha sportsbook opens, we should see that number eclipse $2 million for the first time in the state’s history.
As for take-home revenue, the numbers are significantly lower. WarHorse Casino Lincoln tallied around $180,000 in revenue this past month, while Grand Island brought home around $67,000.
WarHorse Omaha should assume the top spot for revenue once it opens. Omaha is the state’s largest city, with roughly 190,000 more people than Lincoln and around 430,000 more people than Grand Island. With such a big population pool to pull from, WarHorse Omaha is all but guaranteed to outperform the two other retail sportsbooks in the state.
If WarHorse can match the average sportsbook revenue logged by the Lincoln and Grand Island sportsbooks, then it’s very likely we should see the state’s sportsbook tax revenue surpass $2.5 million and take-home revenue eclipse $450,000 by the end of the year.
By March, we could see the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments push tax revenue beyond $3.5 million and take-home revenue past $500,000. As the market matures and more sportsbooks open, Nebraska could see revenue totals surpass $750,000 by the end of 2024.