Thursday, November 30, 2023

Grand Island Casino First In Nebraska To Offer Table Games

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Grand Island Casino last weekend became the first in Nebraska to offer table games, making them available to patrons hours after the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission approved its request on Friday.

Voters in November 2020 approved an expansion of gaming in the state that included additional table games and sports betting, all at brick-and-mortar locations. Grand Island also opened its sportsbook over the weekend, the second in the state to do so.

WarHorse Lincoln began offering sports betting in late June. Harrah’s Columbus Casino is likely next in line to offer table games, as the NRCG previously said the casino had been approved for a gaming license, but had not applied for a wagering license.

In Nebraska, the sports betting menu is relatively limited, though NRGC Executive Director Tom Sage has said he expects the menu to grow. No matter how big it becomes, it will not include Nebraska college teams playing at home, including football, as the legislature banned betting on local college sports events that take place in the state.

Nebraska opens the college football season at Minnesota Aug. 31 and at Colorado Sept. 9, meaning those interested could bet on the Cornhuskers for both of those games at either sportsbook. They won’t be able to bet on the Sept. 16 Northern Illinois game, however, because it will be played at Memorial Stadium.

Bigger, shinier venue coming

Grand Island Casino began offering table games Friday night at five blackjack tables, one Texas Hold’em table, one roulette wheel, and one craps table. The casino, located about 150 miles west of Omaha, also has about 300 slot machines. According to the casino website, the plan is to create a 37,000-square-foot gaming floor with 650 slot machines, 20 gaming tables, and a permanent sportsbook.

At Friday’s NRGC meeting, the commission also agreed to contract with Innovation Group for a market study evaluating Nebraska’s existing racing market and its impact on the state. The deadline for completion of the study is 2025, before the NRGC approves any new racetrack applications.

Photo: Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

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