Ho-Chunk, the economic development arm of the Winnebago tribe announced the launch of a new business WarHorse Gaming LLC, whose job was to manage the casino expansion at the company's three horse racing tracks in Nebraska.
Nebraska-approved casinos at racetracks
Residents voted in favor of the proposed gambling expansion in a referendum that ran concurrently with presidential election in November and set in motion Ho-Chunk's plans to release $300 million for casino development at racetracks in Omaha, Lincoln and South Sioux City.
Even before the referendum, Ho-Chunk was working with Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA)to guarantee enough signatures for a vote, and now WarHorse Gaming works with the association to develop casino plans.
A statement released by Ho-Chunk revealed that both organizations are in the early stages of the planning process, anticipating some form of expanded gaming in the second half of 2021. And full casino operations in 2022. The company noted further information regarding its timeline will be released at a later date.
In cooperation with the NHBPA
While WarHorse Gaming will be held accountable for the activities of linked with games in Horsemen's Park, Lincoln Racecourse i Atokad, NHBPA will continue to manage the horse racing business.
"We are excited to partner with a world-class organization like Ho-Chunk, Inc. It's taken us a long time to get to this point, and there's still a lot of work to be done, but we're looking forward to what it will do for Nebraska."
Lynne McNally, Executive Vice President, NHBPA
Activities WarHorse Gaming will be carried out by Brian Chamberlain, who will take on the role of the executive directorwhereas Blue Earth Marketing, a subsidiary of Ho-Chunk, will act as the agency of record for casinos.
"This is an exciting time for Nebraska residents. Our team is working tirelessly to bring top-notch gaming and entertainment to the state. While there is still much work to be done, we are looking forward to the opportunity to bring a new industry to the state, and with it a whole new source of tax revenue and career opportunities."
Brian Chamberlain, executive director, WarHorse Gaming
Ho-Chunk expects the casino development at track racing Atokad in South Sioux City will take 9 months, but the effect of the gambling expansion would be significant, allowing the operator to take 25% do 30% market share of games in Siouxland, where Ho -Chunk has another property, WinnaVegas Casino Resort near Sloan in State of Iowa.
Ho-Chunk predicted that casino operations in Vegas style on the other two racecourses may start within 6 months, because Horsemen's Park i Lincoln Racecourse already have the facilities.
Overall, the presence of casinos at the three racetracks will help them expand their horse racing business by adding new live racing dates to their respective calendars.