WarHorse Casino Lincoln will open a temporary gaming space

Posted on: September 22, 2022, 04:53h.

Last update on: September 22, 2022, 05:01h.

WarHorse Casino Lincoln expects to make history this weekend by becoming the first legal casino to open in Nebraska.

WarHorse Casino Lincoln Nebraska gambling
The temporary casino space at WarHorse Lincoln Casino in Nebraska could open this Saturday, September 24. The fully completed permanent casino will not be ready until the end of 2024. (Image: York News-Times)

WarHorse Gaming is a partnership between the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA). The gambling entity was formed after Nevada voters approved the transition of the state’s six racetracks to full-scale casinos. This was done through a ballot referendum presented in the November 2020 elections.

WarHorse is overseeing the racino overhaul at the casino at each of the three NHBPA racetracks. The Lincoln and Omaha facilities are being developed first, with the association’s South Sioux City track slated for redevelopment at a later date.

WarHorse Gaming is spending over $200 million to turn Lincoln Race Course into WarHorse Casino Lincoln. When completed, expected towards the end of 2024, the casino will offer approximately 1,300 slots and table game positions, as well as a sportsbook.

The gaming hall will be complemented by a 200-room hotel, convention and meeting space, multiple restaurants, and live and simulcast horse racing.

Temporary Casino Loan

Although WarHorse Lincoln won’t be ready for at least 18 months, the casino hopes to open a temporary gaming space this weekend. Lance Morgan, president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., the business arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and operator of WarHorse, told the Nebraska Examiner this week that the temporary installation is ready to operate.

The only hurdle remaining, Morgan explained, is getting final approval from the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission. The commission is due to meet tomorrow afternoon, where it is expected to grant WarHorse a gaming license for Lincoln.

WarHorse has renovated a former sports bar that hosted pari-mutuel activities on the Lincoln track into a temporary casino with approximately 500 slots and table game locations.

We expect to get a license,” Morgan said of tomorrow’s gaming commission meeting.

If so, WarHorse Lincoln’s temporary casino could open as early as 10:30 a.m. local time on Saturday. The Lincoln property would then forever have the honor of being known as the first legal casino to open in Nebraska history.

But that’s not all WarHorse has planned for this weekend. The company says it will officially rename the historic racetrack, which opened in 1947, “Legacy Downs” when its casino takes its first bet.

Omaha construction is approaching

WarHorse Gaming plans to launch its Omaha project soon, which is the larger of its two initial casino projects. WarHorse has budgeted over $300 million to renovate Horsemen’s Park into WarHorse Casino Omaha.

Omaha’s plan includes 1,600 playing positions, three restaurants and a food court, as well as live and simulcast betting. No hotels are currently included.

WarHorse also plans to open a temporary casino in Omaha. This facility is expected to start operations next spring.

No details on what WarHorse may have in store for South Sioux City have yet to be revealed. Morgan concluded by saying that the company is currently “spending every penny” on Lincoln and Omaha builds.