Thursday, November 24 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) — Nebraska took a big step Tuesday by bringing gaming and sports betting to the capital.

Warhorse Management and the Nebraska Horsemen paved the way for Lincoln Racecourse, bringing them one step closer to opening the Warhorse Casino.

With facilities opening in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska Cavaliers and Warhorse said it would be a boon to the community. Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of an 18-month construction phase for Lincoln’s Warhorse gaming facility.

Lance Morgan, president and CEO of Ho-Chuck Inc., Warhorse’s parent company, said that was a long time coming.

“It’s been a very long time in terms of what we’ve been doing and the rider has been doing to try to really grow the horse racing industry,” Morgan said. “And we think casino games on top of horse racing are going to create a big draw and a big tax advantage for the state and a lot of jobs.”

Warhorse Gaming will be the first Lincoln and Omaha casino. Morgan said the properties would cost between $500 million and $600 million in total, with the first phase of Warhorse Lincoln just weeks away.

“I think there’s an organic enthusiasm for it in the community,” said Lynne McNally, CEO of Nebraska Horseman. “I think people are going to be excited about it and I think we’re going to be a huge asset to Lincoln and Omaha.”

The first phase at Lincoln, slated to open in September, will include a 9,000 square foot gaming hall, 445 slot machines, sports betting kiosks, and live and simulcast racing. The second phase, which will include a 200-room hotel, events center and steakhouse, is scheduled for September 2023.

“Anything entertainment you want to bring people to the establishment, so whatever type of convention entertainment gig the races were going to do, it was all for the purpose of bringing people here,” he said. Morgan said.

Warhorse said the casino will create around 900 jobs in the city. The Omaha’s Horseman’s Park location will also have a phased opening starting next year.

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