Sometimes an old partnership from years ago can come back to help unexpectedly. This was the case between Ho-Chunk of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
In just two years, Ho-Chunk will open the WarHorse Casino resort on US 77 and West Denton Road. They do so with a team from the Horsemen’s group. “I don’t think either of us as a group would’ve had the success we’ve had without the other,” said Lynne McNally, CEO of the Horsemen’s Association in an article by the Lincoln Journal Star.
The Nebraska casino will feature slots and table games along with a sportsbook, all adjacent to the horse racing complex Legacy Downs. The Horsemen’s group allocated $6.5 million towards the purchase of 155 acres of land.
WarHorse will also feature a beautiful hotel and a string of dining options. And the casino will add another 2,000 jobs to the community.
How are the Ho-Chunk and Nebraska’s Horsemen connected?
Around ten years ago, the Horsemen’s group needed an injection of funds to remain in Lincoln with the end of the State Fair Park.
The group had a horse track named Atokad in South Sioux City and Ho-Chunk purchased it. They were already looking into a Nebraska casino license in downtown Sioux City so Atokad would end up being potential competition should gambling pass through legislation in Nebraska.
It was a win-win scenario for both parties. And they developed a partnership that would prove to be beneficial a decade later.
WarHorse Nebraska casino and a focus on reviving live horse racing
After Iowa introduced riverboat gambling the horse racing complex at Legacy Downs went into a slump. Now that Ho-Chunk and the Horsemen’s group will be building WarHorse right around the corner, there will be a large focus on reviving horse racing.
Legacy Downs is putting a land-use plan into place for the track. But horsemen have already considered putting the many acres of land to use for barns, a training ground for horses and an RV campground.
Of the $6.5 million investment, the horsemen are allocating $2.5 million to rebuilding the horse racing surface. McNally stated in the Journal Star:
“There’s nothing more important to us than getting those stalls put in and those barns built because that means we can have more live racing. We want a place so those Nebraska owners and trainers can stay home if they want to and make a living in their home state.”
The two organizations have the community in the back of their minds in everything they do. Ho-Chunk has done work with contributions to education, health care and community housing.
Tax revenue from all gaming will go back to the state in one form or another. Education is a big part of that, as is the case for allocating tax revenue across the country.
“You don’t have to tell us to treat people well and take care of your community,” said Ho-Chunk executive Lance Morgan. “All of the money we make is going to be reinvested in our state.”