Construction begins on Omaha Casino at Horsemen’s Park
Posted: July 30, 2022, 5:15 a.m.
Last update on: July 30, 2022, 12:17 p.m.
The Omaha Casino plan for Horsemen’s Park is officially under construction.
Nebraska voters in the November 2020 election passed a referendum that amended the state constitution to allow casinos at all six licensed racetracks in the state. The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska funded the 2022 referendum campaign through its business arm Ho-Chunk, Inc.
Following the adoption of the initiative, 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 turn the tracks into casinos with slot machines, table games and sports betting. The NHBPA controls the Lincoln Racetrack, Horsemen’s Park in Omaha, and Atokad Downs in South Sioux City.
The NHBPA and Ho-Chunk have formed a joint entity called WarHorse Gaming. The combined group will finance the investments and then own and operate the casinos.
WarHorse broke ground on Lincoln’s casino project earlier this month. It is the largest of the three ventures, as WarHorse plans to invest $220 million to turn the race track into a gaming resort with a 196-room hotel, multiple restaurants, convention and meeting rooms. , and live and simulcast betting.
Lincoln Casino plans to have around 1,300 slot machines and table game positions, as well as a sportsbook. The Omaha casino plan is larger, as the current plan suggests up to 1,600 playing positions. Although there are dining options, no hotel or resort amenities are currently planned.
WarHorse Gaming held a groundbreaking ceremony for Project Omaha last week, but did not specify an expected construction cost.
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 Ho-Chunk CEO Lance Morgan. “Nebraskans have made their views clear in the 2020 election – we want to keep our money in our state. Today is an important step to achieve this. »
Just over 65% of Nebraskans who voted in the 2020 referendum supported the casino issue. WarHorse plans to have its Omaha casino ready in the second half of 2023. The Lincoln casino portion of the resort is set to open this fall.
Property tax relief
Nebraska lawmakers decided to use his entry into the business game to help provide residents with property tax relief.
The Nebraska Races and Gaming Commission last December formally adopted the rules implemented by the Nevada Legislature. Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) generated by future casinos will be subject to a 20% tax. Most of this money will be set aside for the State Property Tax Credit Cash Fund.
In addition to the WarHorse casinos in Lincoln, Omaha and South Sioux City, Caesars Entertainment plans to inject $75 million into the Columbus Racetrack and rebrand 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. Chickasaw’s initial development offer, however, was rejected by local authorities in March.