The first casino in the state of Nebraska opened only five weeks ago, but it has already started sending money to the state and relief funds. The WarHorse Casino has already contributed almost US$800,000 to a Nebraska property tax relief fund, US$597,854 of which was paid in October.
Contributions Will Reach US$100 Million a Year
And, according to WarHorse Casino officials, that’s only the beginning. They expect gaming tax revenue to grow even more as they start to market the temporary gambling facility located in Lincoln.
Lynne McNally, Nebraska’s horsemen’s association chief, was pleased with the way the casino was received. She said that contributing to the property tax relief fund was the first thing on their agenda, as it was a very important matter for them.
The WarHorse Casino in Lincoln is operated by Ho-Chunk Inc. Ho-Chunk Inc. CEO Lance Morgan was very optimistic about the casino’s future and predicted it would eventually contribute as much as US$100 million a year to the property tax relief fund.
According to Morgan, unlike neighbouring Omaha-Council Bluffs which had casinos for years, Lincoln didn’t have the tradition of gaming just yet. So, the growth opportunities were much bigger in the city. He said Lincoln had “incredible potential” and they had only just begun scratching the surface.
Gaming Tax Reduces Local Property Tax Bills
Voters in Nebraska approved legal casinos in the state in 2020. The main reason why casinos in the state got overwhelming support was the contribution they would make to the property tax relief fund.
The Omaha World-Herald estimated that if the state opened six casinos by 2022-23, it would get US$45.5 million each year. Nebraska’s fiscal office came out with even more optimistic projections, predicting that the property tax relief fund will benefit from US$91 million a year.
The WarHorse Casino and future Nebraska casinos must pay a gross gaming revenue tax of 20%. Most of that money, 70%, goes to the Property Tax Credit Fund. The fund was formed to reduce property tax bills in Nebraska.
25% of the casinos’ revenue tax money goes to the city hosting the casino and the host county which split the money evenly. A report the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) released shows that Lincoln and Lancaster County received about US$286,000 and split that amount 50/50.
Permanent Casino Will Bring More Gaming Tax Revenue
The new casino in Lincoln is contributing about US$150,000 to US$200,000 a week in gaming taxes, according to Tom Sage from the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission.
The NRGC executive director said that the only thing that limited revenue was space and that the temporary casino could only fit 433 slots and had no tables for blackjack, roulette, or other card games.
Unfortunately, Sage and locals will have to wait for almost two years to get the full-scale-US$200 million WarHorse Casino. Until then they can visit the temporary gaming facility or can wait a year for a new 800-slot-machines casino in Omaha’s Horsemen’s Park to open.
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