The Horsemen's Park plan for an Omaha casino is currently being implemented. WarHouse Gaming kicked off the project on July 27, 2022. The casino is among the six gaming venues that the gaming company will construct in Nebraska.
Most of the Cornhusker State voters voted yes in a ballot referendum in the November 2020 election to amend its constitution. The ballot allows registered horse racetracks to set up casinos on their premises. The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska financed a referendum campaign this year through Ho-Chunk, Inc., its economic segment.
The initiative's success allowed the Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) to collaborate with Ho-Chunk to upgrade the tracks to casinos with sports gambling, table games, and slot machines. The association owns and runs three of Nebraska's six racetracks.
It regulates Atokad Downs and Downs in South Sioux City, Horsemen's Park in Omaha, and Lincoln Race Course. Ho-Chunk and the NHBPA signed the deal and formed WarHouse Gaming. They will monitor their investments' bankroll and run the casinos.
More Details About the Casinos
WarHouse started constructing the Lincoln casino in July and it will be the biggest project among its three casino plans. It intends to spend $220 million upgrading the race track to a casino resort with meeting and convention facilities, simulcast and live betting, many restaurants, and a 196-room hotel.
The Lincoln casino will have different table game positions,1,300 slot machines, and a bookmaker. But the Omaha Casino will be bigger as its blueprint indicates that it will have 1,600 gaming positions and dining options. It will lack resort amenities and a hotel.
WarHouse Gaming organized a groundbreaking ceremony for the Omaha casino last week and didn't reveal a lot about its budget. Lance Morgan, Ho-Chunk CEO, stated that they were excited about their progress and are optimistic that the casino will prosper in Omaha.
The executive added that Nebraskans expressed their desire in the 2020 ballot that they want the state to retain the revenue it generates from local casino operators. The project's groundbreaking was a huge milestone in fulfilling the residents' dream.
Over 65 percent of Nebraskan voters backed the 2020 referendum. This allows WarHouse to continue planning to set up three casinos, and it forecasts that it will complete the Omaha casino by mid-2023. Part of the Lincoln casino will start operating this fall.
What About Property Tax Relief?
The Cornhusker State's legislatures used the entry of commercial betting to offer Nebraskans property tax relief. Besides, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission started adopting the regulations that the legislature implemented last December.
The new casinos will pay 20 percent tax of their gross gaming revenue (GGR), and Nebraska will allocate most of it to its Property Tax Credit Cash Fund.
Besides WarHouse Gaming's South Sioux City, Omaha, and Lincoln casinos, Caesars Entertainment will invest $75 million in renovating the Columbus racetrack and renaming Harrah's Racetrack and Casino.
Reports state that Elite Casino Resorts is currently building a gaming site at Fonner Park, Grand Island, while the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma wants to construct a gaming venue at Fairplay Park, Hastings.