Omaha WarHorse Casino slowly progressing while Lincoln’s generates thousands

The WarHorse casino in Omaha broke ground at Horsemen’s Park this summer.
In just the first week of operation, Nebraska's first casino generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new tax revenue.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In just the first week of operation, Nebraska’s first casino generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new tax revenue.

The WarHorse Casino in Lincoln opened for business on September 23 and generated $285,963 in tax revenue in its first seven days.

To many, that number doesn’t come as a surprise.

“This supports what happened during the election in 2020, I mean obviously Nebraska passed this with an almost 2-1 vote so it just reinforces that this is long overdue for Nebraska,” says Drew Niehaus with WarHorse Gaming.

25% of the nearly $300,000 will stay in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

“I think the big picture here is, back in 2020 the big push was we wanted to keep this money in Nebraska, Nebraskans were already gambling across the river in Iowa, we’re keeping that here,” Niehaus adds.

70% of that money goes to Nebraska’s property tax relief fund.

“Whether you live in Lincoln and Lancaster County or you live in Omaha, it doesn’t matter. If you live clear out in Scottsbluff, this casino in Lincoln is providing a real service to those folks in the form of property tax relief.”

The WarHorse Casino in Omaha broke ground at Horsemen’s Park this summer.

“Construction is underway, anybody that lives in that area knows that Q street renovations are well underway and it’s progressing pretty nicely,” Niehaus says.

Omaha’s facility broke ground around the same time as Lincoln’s, but Lincoln’s casino is making progress quicker because it’s a new building. Horsemen’s Park’s current buildings need to be completely gutted.

“Unfortunately in Lincoln, it was a little bit easier to get those machines into, Omaha requires a little more renovation to the existing facility so we’ve got a little bit more work to do before we’ll be gambling in Omaha.”

Both casinos are opening in phases—and the funding from Lincoln’s casino in the first week came solely from the 430 slot machines inside.

When Omaha’s first phase opens, there will be double the amount of slot machines open, as well as table games. Officials say Nebraska can expect to see far more revenue made in the first week of operations than Lincoln’s.

Niehaus says they hope those games will be ready for play in the next year to 18 months, with the full facility opening six months after that.

“The casino itself is going to be a full-blown casino experience you can get anywhere else, when it all is said and done, you’re going to have slot machines, table games, sportsbook, simulcast, it’s going to be a great facility for the community.”

Tuesday, Omaha City Council unanimously voted on several ordinances pertaining to the WarHorse Casino, including passing several that allow for indoor and outdoor entertainment on the property.

Officials say they’re also on the road to setting rules and regulations for sports betting in Nebraska, too.

Wednesday, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission will meet and discuss the topic, per the meeting agenda.