Nebraska’s first entire year of casino gambling was a triumph in terms of profits collected.
Income collected from Lincoln’s WarHorse Casino:
When it comes to the details of the income collected, Nebraska’s 4 racetrack casinos generated almost $8.9 million in income in the last month of 2023, which is the second consecutive record monthly sum. In addition, it ended a year in which profits generated from sports wagering, table games and slot machines totaled just over $89 million.
Most of that money, $51.5 million, was raised from Lincoln’s WarHorse Casino. The overall amount consisted of $1.3 million from sports wagering and $50.2 million from slots.
In this regard, Vice President of Marketing at WarHorse, Pete Graziano commented that the officials of the said casino are satisfied with the 2023 income figures. He added: “We’re very happy with the results we’ve seen so far.”
He also commented that when the said casino officially opened its doors during September, 2 years ago, WarHorse was aware that casino gambling was in high demand in the state. However, they weren’t sure what to anticipate.
Planned expansion of Lincoln’s WarHorse Casino:
With the casino having performed well in 2023, WarHorse now has other things on its mind. The main one is the expansion, which was planned for this ongoing year. On that note, Graziano commented that the firm hopes to have its expanded casino business officially open someday during the Q4 of 2024.
Once finished, it will more than double the entire size of the space of the casino floor, growing the initial number of slot machines, from 425 to 800, and officially adding ten table games. Commenting on that, he commented: “We’re really looking forward to it.”
However, the 2024 expansion will not involve a hotel, the official construction of which will start shortly, following the completion of the said expansion project. In addition to the expansion, work continues unabated on the horse track that is long 7 miles, Legacy Downs at WarHorse, which is slated to be completely finished at a later time throughout 2024. Regarding that, Graziano said: “We think there’ll be some live racing later this year.”
Although WarHorse didn’t open an interim casino in Omaha, it did managed to open a sports wagering window at Horsemen’s Park during November, which managed to collect almost $224.000, a total sum for November and December.
Income collected by Grand Island Casino and Resort:
One more casino that contributed heavily to the state’s casino income was the Grand Island Casino and Resort, which was also officially open for the duration of entire 2023 and managed to collect almost $30 million in income. The bulk of that, $27.8 million, was earned from slots, followed by regular table games, $730.000, and from electronic table games, $1.1 million.
Along with all that, the said casino also collected nearly $245.000 from sports wagering.
Commenting on the results, the general manager of the casino, Vincent Fiala, commented that the total results for 2023 surpassed their original projections. It was a game changer when they added the sportsbook and table games to the casino’s offerings in 2023.
Relatedly, he said: “The expansion to our temporary casino was a success for operations and for our guests.”
Furthermore, construction of the permanent resort and casino is going well, even though the recent cold climate has managed to slow progress a little. However, the plan is to officially open the aforementioned permanent casino during the Q1 of 2025.
Other revenue contributors:
Among other contributors, there were 2 more state-owned racetrack gambling businesses that worked only part of 2023.
Next, there was an interim Harrah’s Casino at Ag Park in Columbus, opened by Caesars Entertainment during the middle of the June. Having been opened for six and a half months, it managed to generate almost $7.4 million in income. Just more than $7 million was collected from slot machines, while the rest of the total amount was collected from electronic table games. But, the official sportsbook of the said casino is not yet open.
Relatedly, Caesars is currently building the fresh casino and racetrack at the fresh site found northwest of the city, which is projected to formally open at a later time in 2024.
Of the total sum generated by the Nebraska’s 4 racetrack casinos in 2023, aka $89 million, nearly $17.8m went to the casino taxes, of which almost $12.5m, 70%, was meant for the state property tax credit fund.
In that sense, counties and cities got 25% of the tax, which was almost $4.5m. Lancaster County and the City of Lincoln got nearly $1.3m in casino taxes from Lincoln’s WarHorse Casino. And finally, the compulsive gamblers assistance fund and the state’s general fund received nearly $445.000 each, according to The Lincoln Journal Star.