WarHorse Casino opens to the public

Patrons enter WarHorse Casino for the first time on Saturday.
Patrons enter WarHorse Casino for the first time on Saturday.(Kierstin Foote)
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 8:47 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -It was a historic and long-anticipated day for Nebraskans. WarHorse Casino opened their doors in southwest Lincoln.

Guests anticipating the grand opening of the casino were up early Saturday morning to check out the new building, hoping for a stroke of luck. It’s the first non-native casino in the state to open after the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission voted Friday to authorize it’s license to operate.

Nearly two years ago Nebraska voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot initiative paving the way for what became reality on Saturday.

Saturday’s event brought out people from not only Lincoln but also other parts of the state to take in the casino. They said they’re excited for what will come of the casino and the future of gambling and horse racing in Nebraska.

People from all over came to take in the opening. The line of people waiting even stretched into the parking lot.

“I’ve been out in the parking lot since about a quarter ‘til 9:00 and in line since about 9:00,” Kortney Williams said.

“Well today’s my birthday and I decided that this would be something cool to do obviously its the first one here so its kind of a monumental thing,” Janel Stutzman said.

It has been a long time coming for developers who pushed for the casino to be opened.

“It’s a big day, we’ve been working on this for years and to finally just 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 modest start, but were gonna build a big facility around it , but it’s just a taste of what’s to come.”

That modest start has Linconites and Nebraskans ready for something new things to come in Lincoln.

“Super exciting, I think it’ll be a good time just to have something different to do,” Janel Stutzman said.

The Casino isn’t totally finished. Expansion plans, slated to be complete next September, show more slot machines, tables, a steak house and even a hotel with parking will all be coming to WarHorse Casino.

Developers estimate the casino could have upwards of $5 million in revenue in the first year and also is looking to open casinos in Omaha and South Sioux City.