WarHorse Casino Omaha to Debut Sports Betting at Temporary Facility

Posted on: October 23, 2023, 10:54h. 

Last updated on: October 23, 2023, 09:55h.

Sports betting is coming soon to WarHorse Casino Omaha.

WarHorse Omaha Nebraska casino sports betting
An artist’s rendering of the forthcoming WarHorse Casino Omaha resort. The development recently secured a sports betting license for its temporary gaming space, which is situated on the infield at Horsemen’s Park. (Image: WarHorse Gaming)

WarHorse Gaming, LLC, is developing two brick-and-mortar casino resorts in Nebraska. The company is a division of Ho-Chunk, Inc., the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

WarHorse is building WarHorse Casino Lincoln at the Lincoln Race Course and WarHorse Casino Omaha at Horsemen’s Park. Nebraskans legalized Las Vegas-style casinos at the state’s six licensed horse racetracks through a statewide ballot referendum during the November 2020 presidential election.

The Winnebago Tribe is spending $200 million in Lincoln and $250 million in Omaha to open the casinos. Both of the permanent casinos are expected to open next year. Subsequent development phases are to include on-site hotels, each with about 200 guestrooms.

Sports betting began in June at the temporary gaming facility in Lincoln. Bettors will soon be able to place sports wagers in Omaha after the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) signed off on the property’s application last week.

November Launch

WarHorse Casino Omaha in September 2022 opened a temporary casino with more than 400 slot machines and pari-mutuel simulcast wagering. The temporary gaming space is set up in the infield at Horsemen’s Park.

The NRGC last week gave WarHorse the go-ahead to open a sportsbook, so long as the applicant satisfies conditions raised during the state review of its sports wagering license. The state gaming regulator said WarHorse Omaha can begin taking sports bets as early as November 1, with the exact opening dependent on a venue inspection and compliance testing of the sportsbook’s wagering kiosks.

WarHorse Gaming is partnered with Kambi for its sports betting business. The business-to-business sportsbook provider is a preferred vendor in the tribal gaming industry. Though its Nebraska casinos are commercial endeavors, the Winnebago Tribe also owns and operates the WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Iowa, a tribal gaming property.

During the same election in which Nebraskans approved of commercial casinos at the state’s six horse racetracks, voters legalized sports betting. The approval only allows for in-person betting at the brick-and-mortar casinos.

WarHorse officials expect their sports betting operation in Omaha to be considerably more robust than it is at the Lincoln sportsbook. Company reps say their enthusiasm is because many residents in the Omaha region are already accustomed to sports betting, as the short trip across the Missouri River into neighboring Iowa has provided them with legal in-person and mobile sports betting since August 2019.

Football Key

Lynne McNally, chief executive officer of the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the parent company to Horsemen’s Park and the Lincoln Race Course that partnered with Ho-Chunk for its casinos, says time is of the essence to get sports betting up and running in Omaha.

We really wanted to open [sports betting] as early in the football season as we could,” McNally explained. “That’s a huge chunk of sports betting. Everything else is dwarfed by the NCAA and the NFL.”

“Better late than never,” McNally said of the sportsbook not opening until at least November. Sunday marked week seven of the NFL regular season. Saturday marked week nine of the college football season.