WarHorse Lincoln Casino Launches Nebraska’s First Retail Sportsbook

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Nebraska residents will finally be able to make in-person sports bets starting today, Thursday, June 22. WarHorse Casino in Lincoln (pictured) will open its doors at 3 p.m., and customers will be free to place sports bets at the dedicated sportsbook venue, at any of the 10 kiosks throughout the casino, or use the WarHorse sports betting mobile app.

The retail sportsbook’s platform will be provided by Kambi Group. The operation will be managed by former BetMGM Sportsbook retail manager Jason Johnston.

Lance Morgan, CEO of WarHorse Gaming LLC’s parent company Ho-Chunk Inc, was in good spirits before the launch.

“Nebraskans have been asking for the opportunity to wager on sports since the ballot initiatives were passed in 2020,” he told local news outlet Omaha World Herald. “We’re thrilled to be the first casino in the state to offer sports betting.”

Improved Revenues

Nebraska’s casino tax revenues in May totaled $1.3 million. That’s the lowest total since January.

Adding sports betting to the mix might see that improve over this month.

WarHorse will pay a 20% flat tax on gross revenues from its sportsbook operation.

But with only one retail spot available, things can only go so far. Nebraska’s other casinos, the Grand Island Casino Resort and the temporary Harrah’s Columbus venue, are both exploring sportsbook options. However, no concrete plans have been released.

Popular national operators like FanDuel and DraftKings are excluded from opening in Nebraska under the state’s sports betting framework.

Online sports betting consistently outperforms retail betting by huge margins across the states that have both forms available.

In Nebraska, WarHorse has built an app for its sportsbook in partnership with Kambi. However, wagers can only be placed from the physical venue. To improve efficiency, bettors can choose and build their bets from anywhere in the state before heading to the Lincoln casino to actually place it.

Regardless of the finicky rules, the final opening of a sportsbook in the Cornhusker State represents a significant step forward.

“As sports betting continues to expand across the US, we are proud to launch the first sportsbook in Nebraska and to power another market-first for one of our partners,” said Kambi cofounder and CEO Kristian Nylén in a press release.

Expanding Market

WarHorse Casino Lincoln’s sportsbook wasn’t the only gambling operation to debut in Nebraska this month. Just this week, self-styled “lottery courier” app Jackpocket launched in the state. That marks its 16th legal market in the US.

Nebraskan lottery fans can now use the Jackpocket app to buy lottery tickets online that would otherwise only be available in physical stores.

Jackpocket takes a 9% cut of player’s deposits used to fund ticket purchases. In return, it facilitates winning notifications, in-app payouts of up to $500, and secures ticket transfers for larger prizes.

The company launched in 2012 and is now worth $650 million. It counts billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” investor Mark Cuban among its backers.

Also opening doors in Columbus, Nebraska, last week was the state’s latest casino venue. The temporary Harrah’s Columbus casino is now open for business, having taken over event space in the city’s Ag Park Racecourse.

It features 250 slot machines and electronic table games, but no live dealer table games.

The Caesars Entertainment-owned operator Harrah’s will run the temporary venue until its $75 million permanent Harrah’s Nebraska Casino Resort opens in 2024.

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