War Horse Casino Given Green Light For Construction

The construction of the Warhorse Casino in Lincoln, Nebraska, began earlier this year. The construction of the temporary casino is a step toward casino gaming in the capital of Nebraska.

Due to the Nebraska State Fair co-occurring with the racecourse, construction on the temporary casino, Grand Island’s Fonner Park casino, had to be delayed until September, after the fair concluded.

Chris Kotulak, the CEO of Fonner Park, announced that the objective, according to him, is to “get started as soon as possible following the fair.”

Breaking ground

On September 7, 2022, Fonner Park will have a temporary casino in Grand Island, Nebraska. It will open around Thanksgiving 2022 with 300 slot machines and live table games and remain operational for at least two years as the permanent Grand Island Casino Resort is constructed nearby.

Warhorse Gaming owns the casino, a collaboration between Ho-Chunk Inc. and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The casino’s construction will take 18 months.

The Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has applied for a $2.4 million building permit to convert the simulcast facility at the Lincoln Race Course into a temporary casino floor with more than 300 slot machines.

Kotulak displayed a plan of the racetrack’s concourse section, where Elite Casino Resorts will construct the Grand Island Casino Resort. “The objective is to have the slot machines operational, and when the resort’s launch approaches, when the permanent casino and hotel are set to open, they will likely add table games.” He responded, “Or they’ll do it immediately.”

Kotulak stated, “We’ve always said we’re not going to construct a metal shed with some slots and call it a day.” “We want our clients to have the best possible experience, regardless of the outcome.”

The casino

McNally and Lance Morgan, the president, and chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk Inc., claim that the newly constructed casino will cost approximately $220 million and be the largest in Nebraska. Officials estimate that the temporary casino will require many months to obtain the necessary permissions and licenses.

The temporary casino will have 300 slot machines, live table games, and the “adrenaline rush of winning.” The executive also stated that job applications for the casino can now be submitted online.

WarHorse Casino will take up to two years to complete once the building begins. It will feature around 1,200 gaming terminals, a hotel with 196 rooms, an event area, and five or six eateries.

Fonner Park will be able to increase race purses and welcome more horses using casino funds. The structure can accommodate up to 1,000 horses. In the past decade, approximately 750 guests have stayed there. Also, it is believed that the casino will increase attendance at the racetrack.

Kotulak stated that construction of the permanent casino would commence in 2023 following the state fair. This would occur after the racing season, the schedule of events and livestock exhibits, and the infrastructure enhancements planned for the university grounds. The expected completion date is 2025.

Before the permanent casino is constructed, the temporary one will be utilized. Permanent Warhorse Casino Lincoln will feature 1,300 slot machines, 100 table games, a sportsbook, a 200-room hotel, a venue for events, restaurants, and live horse racing.

The permanent resort will contain a 37,000-square-foot casino with 650 slot machines, 20 table games, and a sportsbook when it is completed. The casino will construct a five-story hotel on the north side of the existing clubhouse. There will be a “Biergarten” and a gaming area on the casino’s main floor.

Warhorse Gaming also intends to construct a second casino in Omaha from the one in Lincoln. The objective is to begin construction by the end of this summer. Warhorse also wants to construct a temporary structure at the Omaha site ten months after construction. Six hundred fifty slot machines will be available in the temporary casino.

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