Ho-Chunk, Inc Launches New Gaming Division For Nebraska Racetrack Casinos

Closeup of Person Counting Money With a Casino Background
The economic development unit of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska has announced the launching of WarHorse Gaming LLC to operate and manage the three Nebraska casinos it plans to open next year.

Said WarHorse Gaming executive director Brian Chamberlain:

“This is an exciting time for Nebraskans. Our team is working tirelessly to bring first-class gaming and entertainment to the state. Though there is still a great deal of work to be done, we’re excited for the chance to bring a new industry to the state, and with it, an entirely new source of tax revenue and career opportunities.”

Added NHBPA executive vice president Lynne McNally:

“We are thrilled to partner with a world-class organization like Ho-Chunk, Inc. It’s been a very long process getting to this point, with a lot more yet to do, but we’re very much looking forward to what this will do for Nebraska.”

Partnership with NHBPA

Ho-Chunk, Inc. says that WarHorse Gaming will partner with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) for the planning and development of Nebraska casinos at the three state-licensed horseracing tracks in Omaha, Lincoln, and South Sioux City.

Under the agreement, WarHorse will be responsible for the overall gaming operations in the three Nebraska casinos while the NHBPA will continue to be the overseer of all horse racing events at the tracks. WarHorse management anticipates that expanded gaming will be available in the latter part of 2021 with full casino operations commencing in 2022.

Nebraska Initiative 430

The Plans are taking shape now after 65.01% of voters approved Nebraska Initiative 430 or the Authorizing Gambling at Racetracks Initiative which was on the ballot in Nebraska as an initiated state status on November 3, 2020. At the time of election, the only form of gaming allowed in Nebraska were the state lottery, licensed raffles, and bingo.

Initiative 430 authorizes gambling at licensed racetracks with licensed gaming operators. The Initiative established the Nevada Gaming Commission to enact the rules to license gaming operators and regulate the state’s gambling industry. Under the measure, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from playing on gambling devices or participate in gambing at the racetracks.

Ohio Racinos Hit Record Numbers via Slot Machine Gaming

OhioThe seven racetrack casinos of Ohio have reported record revenues via slot machine gaming with the recent fiscal year.

The state of Ohio is home to seven racetrack casinos, known as racinos. These venues offer slot machine gaming and during the recent fiscal year, the venues were able to hit record revenues. While the racinos did quite well, the land-based casinos of the state were only able to see small gains during the first portion of 2018.

Recent Revenues

On Monday, the Ohio Lottery Commission released the recent figures, with the fiscal year ending on June 30th generating $987 million in revenues from slot machine gaming. The racinos saw a 6.1% increase in slot machine revenue earnings based on comparisons with the same time frame from 2017. Over the past few years, the slots of the racinos have done really well, seeing a steady growth in earnings, growing as much as 1/3 since the fiscal year of 2015.

Each of the racinos in the state reported a revenue gain based on year-over-year totals. The Hard Rock Rocksino was the leader in earnings, with a 6% increase, generating $246.5 million. The Scioto Downs took the second-place position, earning $163.8 million while the JACK Thistledown facility was able to earn $121.4 million.

Land-Based Casino Revenues

When the racino slot machine revenues were released, the Ohio Casino Control Commission also provided the data from the first half of 2018 within the four land-based casinos. A total of $420.5 million was earned via slot and table game play, which is a 2% increase from the same time frame last year. Three of the four venues were able to see gains while one was not so lucky. The JACK Cincinnati was the lowest earner, bringing in $100.7 million, which is flat compared to 2018. The biggest earner was the Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino Columbus, which brought in $115 million.

The racinos were able to outperform the casinos when it came to June figures, with $87.4 million generated, which is much higher than the $78 million from June 2017. The casinos only brought in $67.1 million which is slightly higher than last year’s $64 million. Table revenues helped the land-based venues to earn more for the month, especially considering that the slot games were down year-over-year.

The racinos and casinos are may soon be able to offer more if sports betting comes into play in the future. Reportedly, the gaming operators of the state want to get in on the sports betting industry now that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that PASPA is no longer valid. The Governor of the state, John Kashich, has stated via his office that he is considering the possibility of allowing sports betting in the state.

No movement has been made as far as legislation is concerned, so it would still be some time before any activity would be able to take place. It has been suggested that if lawmakers decide to legalize the option but have the same high tax rate of 33% as seen via non-slot games, then operators may not be too keen on signing up for sports betting.

Only time will tell what the state will do, but for now, there are earnings to be made via the slot games of both land-based casinos and racinos. It will be interesting to see if the increase in earnings will continue to be the trend for the state or if the games will see a change in earnings in the coming months.