Management expects some form of expanded gambling at Lincoln Racecourse in the latter half of 2021 and a fully operational casino in 2022.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Coming soon to Lincoln: A $200 million casino.
The first steps towards expanded casino gaming at Lincoln Racecourse are underway, but it could be a while before we see a fully operational casino in the Capital City, according to Drew Niehaus, who is in charge of marketing with the new casino.
“The big thing is that things are moving forward, albeit not as rapidly as Nebraskans would probably like, but it’s a process,” Niehaus said.
So where do things stand today? On Wednesday, Ho-Chunk, Inc. launched WarHorse Gaming, LLC, to manage and operate expanded casino gambling at the three existing horse tracks in the state.
“We still don’t have regulations and rules to help guide this industry within the state, so those are in development,” Niehaus said. “More than anything, that’s kind of what the big ticket item is.”
As of now, there is no process for applying for a gaming license. Niehaus says he doesn’t expect that to happen until Jan. 1, when the gambling statutes take effect.
“We’re hoping to get some semblance of rules and regulations early in the new year so we can understand what’s going to be expected of these facilities moving forward,” Niehaus said.
However, construction plans are ongoing. Stakeholders are currently evaluating what can be done with the current facility at Lincoln Racecourse and are putting together architectural renderings of what a casino could look like. The same is being done at Horseman’s Park in Omaha.
Here is a look at what the WarHorse Gaming casino could look like in Omaha:
Niehaus says that the Lincoln WarHorse casino will looking different from the one in Omaha. That rendering is in the works, but will not be made available for at least a few weeks.
The new WarHorse casino in Lincoln will include a partial remodel and buildout of what is currently at the Lincoln Racecourse.
Down the line, there are plans for a full development, including a hotel, a spa, and other amenities. Niehaus says the Lincoln casino is projected to deliver $130 million in annual revenue and will create 865 jobs on the gaming side of the operation.
“There’s going to be some pretty big and exciting things coming to LRC,” Niehaus said.