Nebraska Casino Project Awaits Final Approval, Could Start Construction By Summer

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on June 2, 2022
This Summer Omaha Casino Will Open And Possibly Break Grounds

This summer, a new $200 million casino project in Omaha, Nebraska could break ground. That is if the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) can finalize fees and annual assessment costs associated with the casino.

New Omaha casino development

The Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) and Ho-Chuck Inc. partnered up to form WarHorse Gaming.

Together, the group will redevelop racetracks in Omaha, Lincoln, and South Sioux City, beginning with Horsemen’s Park.

Ho-Chuck Inc. is the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

In a statement, WasHorse Gaming had this to say:

“The company hopes to begin construction on the Horsemen’s Park casino by late summer. But the timeline is ultimately in the hands of state officials, who continue to finalize regulatory conditions.”

Finalizing the numbers in Nebraska

Nebraska voters legalized commercial casino gambling in 2020. As a result, the state’s six horse racetracks can become casinos complete with slot machines, table games, and Nebraska sports betting options.

However, the NRGC still needs to finalize each racetrack’s licensing fees and annual assessment costs. Once the prices are determined, each property can submit its casino application.

Each submission will go through a 30 to 60-day review period once the gaming commission receives an application.

What will upgrades look like at Horsemen’s Park?

The upgrades to Horsemen’s Park include a complete renovation of the existing complex and 67,000 square feet of new floor space. The casino will also have a concert venue and new bars and restaurants.

The casino will have 1,200 slot machines, an unspecific number of table games, and a sportsbook.

If everything goes as planned, the Nebraska casino could open by summer 2023.

What about the other racetracks in Nebraska?

While all six racetracks plan to undergo facelifts, Horsemen’s Park is the largest proposed project.

  • Columbus – Caesars Entertainment 
  • Grand Island – Elite Casino Resorts
  • Hastings – Chickasaw Nation
  • Lincoln, Omaha, South Sioux City – Ho-Chuck Inc. 

Caesars, in partnership with Columbus Exposition and Racingplans to spend $75 million renovating the racetrack. The property will be transformed into a Harrah’s Casino with 400 slot machines, 20 table games, and a sportsbook.

At the time, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said:

“We knew that our experience in the casino industry combined with our commitment to horse racing made Harrah’s a perfect fit,” Reeg said.

“We look forward to creating an all-new Harrah’s experience in Columbus and connecting it to our Caesars Rewards network across the country.”

In partnership with Elite Casino Resorts, Fonner Park will operate a casino with a sportsbook, 650 slots, and 20 table games.

The Chickasaw Nation had plans to renovate Fairlay Park. However, city officials shot down their proposal.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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