A company pursuing a casino license in South Sioux City has presented Nebraska regulators with plans for another casino in northeast Nebraska. The operation in Norfolk would be within a 150 mile radius of four western Iowa casinos.
The plans from WarHorse Gaming include a horse track and converting Norfolk’s convention center into a casino. “There’s a hotel there. There’s a restaurant, brewery…and they have this 20,000 foot convention center right there,” said Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk, Incorporated, the parent company of WarHorse.
Morgan said the plans for this race track/casino complex in Norfolk have been in development for four years. “It’s going to be about a $55 million project all in when you actually have the gaming. The track itself is not going to be that much,” he said.
Morgan’s company has also submitted gaming license requests for South Sioux City, Omaha and Lincoln as well as Norfolk. WarHorse estimates it would employ 250 at the Norfolk casino, which would include sports betting as well as other casino-style gaming.
Last fall, Nebraska voters approved casino operations at state-licensed horse tracks. As Radio Iowa reported last week, Iowa’s 19 state-licensed casinos took in a record $1.5 billion in gross revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City, which would be closest to the proposed casino in Norfolk, Nebraska, reports $87 million in gross revenue over the past 12 months. The two casinos in Council Bluffs that are closest to pending casino projects in Omaha took in a combined $238 million in gross revenue in the last state fiscal year. The casino in Larchwood, Iowa, is about 150 miles from the proposed casino in Norfolk, Nebraska.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)