Construction of the Omaha Casino begins in Horsemen’s Park

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Posted on: Jul 30, 2022 at 5:15 am.

Last updated on: July 30, 2022, 12:17 p.m.

Omaha Casino‘s plan for Horsemen’s Park is officially under construction.

Omaha Casino WarHorse Gaming Gambling in Nebraska
WarHorse Gaming breaks ground on its Omaha casino at Horsemen’s Park on July 27, 2022. The Nebraska casino project is one of six casinos in the works in the state of Cornhusker. (Image: WarHorse Gaming)

Nebraska voters passed a voting referendum in the November 2020 election that amended the state’s constitution to allow casinos at the state’s six licensed racetracks. The Winnebago tribe of Nebraska funded the 2022 referendum campaign through its economic arm Ho-Chunk, Inc.

After the initiative ended, the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA), which owns and operates three of the state’s six racetracks, partnered with Ho-Chunk to convert the tracks into casinos with slots, table games and sportsbook. The NHBPA controls Lincoln Race Course, Horsemen’s Park in Omaha and Atokad Downs in South Sioux City.

The NHBPA and Ho-Chunk formed a joint entity called WarHorse Gaming. The combined group will fund the investments and then own and operate the casinos.

casinos on the go

WarHorse broke ground on the Lincoln Casino project earlier this month. It is the largest of the three companies as WarHorse plans to invest $220 million to transform the circuit into a gaming resort complete with a 196-room hotel, multiple restaurants, convention and meeting facilities, and live and simulcast betting .

Lincoln Casino plans to have approximately 1,300 slot machines and table games, as well as a sportsbook. The Omaha casino schedule is larger as the current schedule proposes up to 1,600 game positions. While there will be dining options, no hotel or resort facilities are currently planned.

WarHorse Gaming held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Omaha project last week, but did not specify how much it is expected to cost to build.

It’s very exciting to have reached this point, but even more exciting to know what the future holds for Omaha and the state,” said Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk. “Nebrascans made their thoughts clear in the 2020 election — we want to keep our money in our state. Today is a significant milestone in achieving that.”

Just over 65% of Nebraskans who voted in the 2020 referendum supported the casino question. WarHorse plans to complete its Omaha casino in the second half of 2023. The Lincoln Casino portion of the resort is slated to open this fall.

property tax relief

Nebraska legislators decided to use the entry into commercial gambling to provide residents with property tax relief.

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission officially passed the rules, which were implemented by the Nevada legislature, last December. The Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) generated by the future casinos will be taxed at 20%. Most of that money is set aside for the state’s property tax credit fund.

Along with the WarHorse casinos in Lincoln, Omaha and South Sioux City, Caesars Entertainment plans to invest $75 million in Columbus Racetrack and rename the property Harrah’s Racetrack and Casino.

Elite Casino Resorts is developing a casino at Fonner Park on Grand Island and the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma is planning a casino at Fairplay Park in Hastings. However, the Chickasaw’s original development offer was turned down by local officials in March.

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