Representatives from th Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Ho-Chunk Inc. are hoping to break ground on their Omaha casino by late spring.
According to Lynne McNally, Executive Vice-President of the Nebraska Horsemen:
“It’s going to be a massive undertaking, there will be a hotel in Lincoln, the facility in Omaha will look much different than it looks now but I think Nebraskans will be very, very thrilled with the end result, and we can’t wait for them to open.”
Before the construction can begin, the existing race tracks need to secure their gaming licenses but before they can get those, the rules and regulations for gaming needs have to be approved.
These rules and regulations were written and green-lighted by regulators last December. They are now at the Attorney General’s Office for consideration after which, they would be sent to the Governor’s office for his signature. After that, the regulations will go the Secretary of State’s office and after five days there, they will take effect.
Temporary Gaming Facility
The $200 million WarHorse Casino in Omaha will be developed by WarHorse Gaming LLC, a division of Ho-Chunk Inc. The casino will introduce casino gaming at the existing Horsemen’s Park racing track in the City. Once the construction is complete, the WarHorse Casino in Omaha will have at least 1,200 slot machines, live and simulcast horse racing, gaming tables, live entertainment, bars, a coffee shop, and food hall.
WarHorse gaming is also expected to put up a temporary facility with gaming machines ten months after the start of construction. The transitional site will be used until the completion of the project, which is expected to be two years after breaking ground. A second casino, to be named WarHorse Casino Lincoln, is also in the pipeline of the partners. That project is expected to move “at a faster pace” since the existing facility at the site is newer. According to McNally, a transitional site will also be built there four to five months after its ground breaking.
Retail Sports Betting
Aside from the Nevada-style casino gaming, Nebraskans will be able to enjoy retail sports betting at the upcoming casinos. A bill legalizing sports betting in the state was signed into a law last year by Governor Pete Ricketts. The bill will allow legal sports betting at brick and mortar locations.
Legal Nebraska sports betting was supposed to launch this year but delays in the processing have pushed the launch date back. Still, Nebraska’s Horsemen are hoping that everything will be in place when their WarHorse casinos open. Right now, the target date for the Nebraska retain sports betting launch is before fall, when the next NFL season begins.