WarHorse Gaming opened its new sportsbook on Wednesday at Horsemen’s Park, 63rd and Q Streets, thereby introducing legal sports betting to the city of Omaha, Nebraska. Betting will take place in a temporary building on the racetrack infield until the casino opens next fall.
The launch of the sportsbook will allow people in Omaha to wager on games in a more convenient in-state location. Until now, the closest state-sanctioned sportsbook was at WarHorse Casino in Lincoln, 50 minutes away from the Omaha Wahorse location.
Customers can place a wager at one of 10 electronic kiosks or at the WarHorse Sportsbook window inside the temporary building. The Winnebago Tribe owns the WarHorse brand, and officials say the casino and sports betting will help build housing and provide jobs to members of the tribe.
“We think it’s going to be exciting, especially for people who have to go to Iowa right now, to be able to do it right here in Omaha,” said Lance Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of Ho-Chunk Inc., the parent company of WarHorse and the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, as per Omaha.com.
Lance Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of Ho-Chunk Inc
Morgan says that the launch of sports betting is just a “tiny first step” toward future plans on the Omaha site. Warhose aims to construct 85% of the casino in about 10-11 months. “What we’re building in the permanent facility is going to be incredible. It’s something, I think, people can take great pride in,” he said.
The casino, racing and entertainment complex will imply an investment of about $250 million and calls for the renovation of the existing Horsemen’s Park complex and adding nearly 67,000 square feet in new construction and expansion.
The current temporary facility offers various sports activities to bet on. 6 News quoted Morgan as saying: “You can bet on cricket, tennis, rugby, international soccer, we’ll have it here. And if we don’t, you can access it through our partner, because our partner is from England. If there’s a demand for something, we have to get it authorized by the state, but I don’t think that will be a problem.”
However, people in the state will not be able to bet remotely and will be required to place the wagers in person at WarHorse Casino, as online gaming has not been legalized. Bets on home games involving Nebraska pro and collegiate teams are also illegal.