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Officials set licensing fees, rules to operate casinos in Nebraska

Many homeowners in the state have been waiting for this moment because there will be property tax relief as soon as the gambling dollars roll in
It's a big moment for the gaming industry in Nebraska because Thursday officials set fees and rules for Nebraska casino operations.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Today is a big moment for the gaming industry in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission set licensing fees to operate casinos in the state.

Warhorse Gaming will submit their application along with $1 million. The fees total $5 million to be paid over five years.

Many homeowners in the state have been waiting for this moment because there will be property tax relief as soon as the gambling dollars roll in.

Horsemen’s Park will soon get a major makeover and a new name. When all the dust settles, Horseman’s Park will become Warhorse Casino.

“We’ll be under full construction at both locations and that will be an 18 to 24-month process, but we can open a transitional facility at both Lincoln and Omaha so we’re hoping to have those up and ready in a few months,” said Lynne McNally, CEO Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Officials tell 6 News the facility will not completely shut down during construction, there will always be activity here.

“We’ll always have simulcasting on the infield the main building itself will be completely closed, they’re going to gut the whole thing and start from scratch so we’ll have continuous simulcast activity on temporary buildings in the infield of the track.”

Nebraska voters approved casino gambling in the state in November 2020, it has been a lengthy process to get to this point.

Lynne McNally is the CEO of the Nebraska Horsemen’s Association. Lynne says the casinos will keep gambling dollars in the state and also help homeowners to keep some dollars in their pockets.

“20 cents of every dollar generated is going directly to the property tax relief fund that money belongs to the people of the state of Nebraska and we have a responsibility to send that money back as soon as possible.”

6 News caught up with some homeowners out on the golf course, they say any kind of property tax relief will help especially right now.

“I think it might help with the way the economy is today and the inflation we are having I think it would suffice some type of way,” said Earcel Lewis.

Officials estimate that around $120 million a year will go to property tax relief in the state. Homeowners say they will take anything they can get.

“Any type of help right now is a relief.”

Lucille Mickells is enjoying the day on Milt’s golf course, she’s hoping to get a win over her grandaughter today. Right now, Lucille is hoping her golf score doesn’t jump up as high as her property taxes.

“They’re going to go up they didn’t put a price to it yet but the valuation goes up I think every time somebody sells a house, it’s a little more we get hit a little more,” said Mickells.

Construction of casinos in Lincoln and Omaha will begin as soon as possible.

Warhorse Gaming plans a phased opening for both Omaha and Lincoln before the casinos are complete. They are the first casino operator to submit an application.

In Omaha, the plan is to completely remodel Horsemen’s Park and set up a full-scale casino. Warhorse Casino in Lincoln will include more than 1,300 gaming stations and will include a 196-room hotel.

Officials say there will be activity here in Omaha during construction.

Lincoln will have slot machines ready later this year and Omaha will get going in the first half of 2023.

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