The casino complex would have 165,000 square feet of space, which includes a gaming floor, event space, restaurant and 196 hotel rooms. It would include 1,500 stalls in an adjacent parking structure. The horsemen's group, which operates Lincoln Race Course, also is seeking a height waver to allow a building up to 100 feet tall, which could make it the tallest Lincoln building outside of downtown, as reported by Lincoln Journal Star.
WarHorse Gaming, a subsidiary of the Winnebago Tribe's Ho-Chunk Inc., is partnering with the horsemen's group on the $200 million casino resort along West Denton Road near U.S. 77 in southwest Lincoln. Renderings released earlier this month showed a seven-story structure with hotel rooms and a rooftop pool overlooking the horse track.
WarHorse also is working on casinos planned for Horsemen's Park in Omaha and Atokad Downs in South Sioux City. But the one in Lincoln is the first of the three to reach the zoning and planning phase of development. Project officials believe it will serve as a showpiece for Nebraska's horse racing industry with the casino complex tied into the newly completed ⅞-mile horse track.
Voters in November approved casino gambling at the state's horse tracks, and project officials believe the new track, a large population base and distance from competing casinos make Lincoln a prime location.
WarHorse spokesman Drew Niehaus said Lincoln's casino complex is expected to create 925 jobs while generating as much as $15 million in state and local tax revenue each year. Lance Morgan, president and CEO of Ho-Chunk, said they anticipate casino gambling could begin in some form later this year with construction of the casino complex beginning in 2022.
Casino gambling cannot begin until operations are licensed by the Nebraska Gaming Commission, which is still being formed.