LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – It was a historic and long-awaited day for Nebraskans. WarHorse Casino has opened in southwest Lincoln.
Guests anticipating the official opening of the casino rose early Saturday morning to check out the new building, hoping for a stroke of luck. It is the first non-native casino in the state to open after Nebraska’s Race and Gaming Commission voted on Friday to authorize its operating license.
Nearly two years ago, Nebraska voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot initiative paving the way for what became reality Saturday.
Saturday’s event drew people not only from Lincoln, but also from other parts of the state to visit the casino. They said they were excited about what will happen to the casino and the future of gambling and horse racing in Nebraska.
People from all over came to attend the opening. The line of people waiting even extended to the parking lot.
“I’ve been in the parking lot for about a quarter until 9 a.m. and online since about 9 a.m.,” Kortney Williams said.
“Well it’s my birthday today and I decided it would be something cool to do, obviously it’s the first one here so it’s kind of a monumental thing,” Janel Stutzman said. .
It’s been a long time coming for the developers who have been pushing for the casino to be open.
“It’s a big day, we’ve been working on it for years and to finally be able to open the door, we were going to open at 10 a.m. and at 9:45 a.m. I was pushing them to open the door a little earlier,” said Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc. “It’s a small start, but we were going to build a big facility around it, but that’s just a taste of what’s to come.
This humble start has Linconites and Nebraskans ready for something new to come to Lincoln.
“Super exciting, I think it will be a good time to have something different to do,” said Janel Stutzman.
The Casino is not completely finished. Expansion plans, which are expected to be completed next September, show that more slot machines, tables, a steak house and even a hotel with parking will all be coming to WarHorse Casino.
The developers estimate that the casino could generate more than $5 million in revenue in the first year and are also planning to open casinos in Omaha and South Sioux City.
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