Horse racing track, casino could be coming to Olde Towne Bellevue

Plans for a horse track and casino in Olde Towne Bellevue are gaining ground.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 4:42 PM CST
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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - Bellevue city officials believe Old Towne Bellevue would have new life with more traffic moving around and more people going into businesses -- if its racetrack-casino becomes reality.

Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike says the city won a round in the fight when LB311 failed to make it out of committee.

“Competition is a good thing, but I really don’t think it belongs where the government can legislate that competition out, and I really think some of these bills are a way to legislate competition away,” Hike said.

John Hassett, president of Aksarben Equine, and his partners are behind the Bellevue Racetrack. They plan to build an open, modern-design horse racing track that will seat 5,000, with standing room for 5,000 more. It will cost about $150 million to build and will feature big-money races.

Bellevue could become the next metro home for a casino and horse track.

“In the Bellevue market, we propose 24 race days, $5 million in purses, $200,000 a day, and we plan to build a first-class horse racetrack,” Hassett said.

Bellevue officials say a racetrack-casino would anchor an entertainment district in the city. Mayor Hike says that entertainment district would feature an indoor-outdoor regional waterpark.

“That in itself is an $80-100 million project that we’re trying to tie together with the horse-track/casino into an entertainment district,” Hike said. “If we get this waterpark in place, we’ve got some other recreational companies that are looking at following.”

“In Bellevue, we’re looking at things that will lower our property taxes, raise our tax base, bring more entertainment dollars and employment in,” Hike said. “We’re trying to do what’s right for Bellevue and the entire state.”

Bellevue officials expect the issue to come up again in the next legislative session. Other communities across the state have also floated the idea of building casinos.