All good things must come to an end and it is often those ends that make the good things even better. For the state of Nebraska’s coffers, a drop in tax revenue from casino gaming in May put the previous two months in perspective.
Taxes from gaming at two Nebraska racetracks fell over 7% from April to May, marking the second-lowest total of the calendar year. May’s sum might have just represented a regression to a mean in Nebraska, however.
Nebraska’s racetrack casinos contribute almost $1.3 million to the state in May
In May, two of the state’s six racetracks offered limited gaming options in their temporary casino facilities. Ag Park in Columbus became the third such operational facility in the state but not until last week. May’s casino activity included Grand Island Casino & Resort in the town of the same name and WarHorse Gaming in Lincoln.
Combined, the two properties paid out $1,290,419.28 to Nebraska in May. Both saw an individual drop from April’s tax revenue of 15.7% (Grand Island) and 2.1% (WarHorse). May’s tax total was the lowest the state has received from gaming since January as well, ending the best two-month run the state has yet seen.
With Ag Park’s temporary facility in operation for most of June, the next set of numbers should represent a jump from the current range. At the same time, Ag Park’s location makes its operation interesting for the state’s gambling industry.
Why the Ag Park addition should represent a net gain for Nebraska gaming
While Columbus is situated almost halfway between Grand Island and Lincoln, it doesn’t compare with either city in terms of population. Lincoln is the second-most populous city in the state. Additionally, Grand Island has more than twice the population of Columbus.
For that reason, there’s little concern over Ag Park possibly cannibalizing gaming at either Grand Island or WarHorse. Rather, it should add to the pot overall. How much exactly is uncertain, however.
January was the first full month of operation for Grand Island. In that month, Nebraska’s casino tax haul jumped 31.8%. As previously mentioned, though, Grand Island’s population is more than twice what Columbus boasts. For that reason, the difference from May to June or July could be less pronounced.
Regardless, May’s numbers do give a stronger indication of what the state can expect from Grand Island and WarHorse every month. That is until the tracks open their permanent facilities. When the run of these temporary casinos comes to an end, an even better experience could be on the horizon.