Nebraska’s second commercial casino at Fonner Park could be open by Christmas.
Chris Kotulak, chief executive at Fonner Park, hopes the Nebraska casino is awarded final approval at the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission’s Dec. 14 meeting. Kotulak said:
“The Racing and Gaming Commission wanted to make sure that racing had a presence, and I appreciate that, so they’ve asked that we add additional television monitors and some wagering terminals where people can wager on horse racing in addition to whatever casino games they’re playing.”
Another Nebraska casino ready for business
Vince Fiala, the casino’s general manager, is also optimistic the commission will give the casino the green light. Construction on the temporary facility began on Sept. 8.
Once open, the casino will have 280 slot machines and several sports betting kiosks. In time, customers can also expect the addition of table games like craps and blackjack.
In addition to betting kiosks, customers can bet on simulcast and live races at the Finish Line Restaurant. Fonner Park partnered with Elite Casino Resorts to transform the horse track into a new Nebraska casino.
The casino’s operating hours are:
- 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday – Thursday
- 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday & Saturday
The state’s first commercial casino, WarHorse Casino Lincoln, began operations in late September. In its first full month of operations, the temporary location generated over $800,000 in state tax revenue.
The permanent Grand Island Casino is still 2-3 years away
Fonner Park’s permanent casino, the Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park, is expected to open between 2024 and 2025.
The $100 million project will include up to 850 slot machines, 20 gaming tables, a sportsbook and additional amenities. Other additions include:
- A hotel
- New restaurant
- A salon & spa
“Once temporary operations have ceased here, they’re going to have a nicer, climate-controlled area than what they had before,” Kotulak said.
Casino expansion is also underway in Lincoln and Omaha. In 2020, Nebraska voters approved the addition of slots and table games at the state’s six racetracks.