Nebraska marked its first year of casino gambling on a high note, as the state’s four racetrack casinos collectively raked in nearly $8.9 million in income during the last month of 2023, marking the second consecutive record monthly sum. The combined profits generated from sports wagering, table games, and slot machines for the entire year totaled over $89 million.
Lincoln’s WarHorse Casino led the way, contributing $51.5 million to the overall amount. This included $1.3 million from sports wagering and $50.2 million from slot machines. Vice President of Marketing, Pete Graziano, expressed satisfaction with the 2023 income figures, stating, “We’re very happy with the results we’ve seen so far.”
Looking ahead, WarHorse announced plans for an expansion, which is set to more than double the size of its casino floor and increase the number of slot machines from 425 to 800. The expansion, scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2024, will also see the addition of ten table games. However, it will not include a hotel, as construction on that front will begin following the completion of the expansion project.
Meanwhile, the Grand Island Casino and Resort, which collected almost $30 million in income throughout 2023, also surpassed its original projections. The general manager, Vincent Fiala, attributed this success to the addition of sports wagering and table games. Construction on the permanent resort and casino is progressing, with plans to officially open in the first quarter of 2025.
In addition to WarHorse and the Grand Island Casino, Nebraska saw the opening of Caesars Entertainment’s interim Harrah’s Casino at Ag Park in Columbus. This casino generated almost $7.4 million in income in just six and a half months. The company is currently constructing a new casino and racetrack, projected to open in 2024.
Of the $89 million in total income generated by the state’s racetrack casinos, approximately $17.8 million went to casino taxes, with the majority allocated to the state property tax credit fund. Counties and cities received 25% of the taxes, with Lancaster County and the City of Lincoln receiving nearly $1.3 million in casino taxes from WarHorse Casino. The remaining funds went to the compulsive gamblers assistance fund and the state’s general fund.
Overall, Nebraska’s first year of casino gambling has proven to be a lucrative venture, with plans for expansion and ongoing construction projects set to further enhance the state’s gaming industry.