On Thursday, Caesars Entertainment announced updates regarding its forthcoming casino property in Columbus, Nebraska. The Harrah’s casino and sportsbook is estimated to span 28,000 square feet and feature 500 slot machines and 14 table games along U.S. 81 on the northwest side of the city. Completion is expected in the first half of 2024.
The company hosted a community event Thursday at the Elks Country Club, where executives for the Las Vegas-based casino entertainment giant unveiled renderings and shared plans for the Nebraska property. The planned casino in Columbus will now see a smaller footprint than initially thought in 2021. It will also include more slot machines and fewer table games than initially planned.
Furthermore, the property is set to host a Brew Brothers restaurant and a bar nicknamed Wishbones, a tribute to a Columbus event center that closed and was torn down to pave way for the construction of the casino. Additionally, two Marriott hotels, a Fairfield Inn and TownePlace Suites will be built adjacent to the casino.
“We’re pleased to bring a brand-new destination to the great state of Nebraska,” Todd Connelly, regional president at Caesars Entertainment said, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star. “This is a huge milestone for the company, and we’ve been working hard to bring it to life.”
The company will also bring a temporary casino to Ag Park, which is expected to open in late spring 2023. The temporary casino will offer more than 200 slot machines and is already home to an expansive simulcast offering where guests will have the ability to watch and bet on horse racing from around the world, company officials said.
“Horse racing has been ingrained in the history of Columbus for decades,” Joe Morris, senior vice president of racing at Caesars Entertainment said, as reported by Omaha World-Herald. “We’re thrilled to contribute to that history and bring an all-new, one-mile racetrack for the community to enjoy.”
Voters in the state approved casino gambling at the state’s six licensed horse tracks in 2020. Nearly two years later, the first temporary casinos opened in Lincoln in September and Grand Island in December.
WarHorse Gaming is building casinos in Lincoln and Omaha in conjunction with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which operates the tracks in both cities. In Lincoln, construction is expected to take 18 months.
At Fonner Park, Elite Casinos Resorts is putting up the Grand Island Casino Resort. Construction isn’t set to begin until after this summer’s Nebraska State Fair wraps up.
It’s possible that the Columbus casino could be the first of the state’s permanent casinos to open, reports Lincoln Journal Star, although no exact opening date has been provided. For now, authorities confirmed it will open sometime in the first half of next year, along with a new 1-mile horse track, which will be the longest in Nebraska.