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WarHorse Could Be First Nebraska Casino With Sports Betting

Written By Katarina Vojvodic | Updated:
Lincoln, Nebraska may be first to offer gambling on sports

The WarHorse Casino in Lincoln may soon become the first facility to offer sports betting in Nebraska.

Lynne McNally, the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) vice-president, told KETV: “We’re going to be starting sports wagering probably by the end of May.”

While the Lincoln casino offers more than 400 slot machines since September, Omaha’s WarHorse facility has yet to provide any gaming. The Omaha casino continues to work on infrastructure with a tax increase financing from the city.

WarHorse Casino in Lincoln is ready to offer sports betting

Nebraska passed sports betting legislation in 2021. The bill legalized Nebraska sports betting at licensed racetracks in the state. Having rules approved, Nebraskans can expect sports betting at WarHorse Casino very soon.

With its doors opened last fall, WarHorse Casino in Lincoln is the closest to host odds in the Cornhusker State. The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the HBPA have partnered to build a $200 million casino at the Lincoln Racecourse in Lincoln. The casino features:

  • A 9,000-square-foot gaming area
  • 433 slot machines
  • Sports betting
  • Simulcast and live racing

The second phase will open in September 2023 with a 220-room hotel, steakhouse restaurant and event center. In addition to the Lincoln casino, two other gaming venues will be built and managed by WarHorse Gaming LLC.:

  1. WarHorse Casino Omaha in Omaha
  2. WarHorse Casino Atokad in South Sioux City

Casino managers hope the Omaha location will be next to offer sports bets

As the Lincoln casino exceeded everyone’s expectations, WarHorse casino managers hope Omaha will soon be ready to include sports betting.

As McNally explained to KETV: “We’re looking (at) what we can do in Omaha. Our challenge is having an active construction zone while we offer sports betting. But we are looking at options right now.”

Two casinos in Nebraska set new state records in gaming taxes

WarHorse Lincoln and the Grand Island Casino Resort saw an increase in the number of visitors they attracted during March. Combined, the two Nebraska casinos generated a record-breaking gaming tax revenue.

Last month, the two gaming facilities collected roughly $1.55 million in taxes. The figure is the highest amount recorded in the last seven months, surpassing the previous $1.34 million set in February.

With a state tax rate of 20%, the two Nebraska casinos brought in $7.7 million in revenue. Here’s a breakdown of the spending:

  • 70% goes to the State of Nebraska Property Tax Credit Fund to reduce local property taxes
  • 12.5% goes toward the County
  • 12.5% goes to the City
  • The balance of 5% is split between the state’s general fund and the State of Nebraska Gamblers Assistance Program

In the meantime, other Nebraska Casinos continue to expand.

Nebraska casinos continue to expand; tax revenue may continue to rise

A third Nebraska casino is on the horizon. Namely, Caesars Entertainment announced plans for its new casino in Columbus, which could open in June. Caesars unveiled that the facility will be a little smaller in scale featuring 500 slot machines and 14 table games. A temporary location will have 200 slot machines.

Completion of the entire project should be in early 2024. Once completed, the casino will also include:

  • A horse track
  • A sportsbook
  • A restaurant
  • Two hotels

The Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park is busy working on its permanent casino, which is expected to open between 2024 and 2025. Once finished, Elite Casino Resorts will have 850 slot machines, 20 table games and a sportsbook.

As more casinos begin opening in the state and expanding their businesses, experts think Nebraska tax revenue and casino profits will continue to rise.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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