Nebraska Retail Sports Betting Gets Off the Ground at WarHorse Casino

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • WarHorse Casino first opened last year at the Lincoln Race Course
  • Online and mobile sports betting are still not permitted in Nebraska
  • WarHorse created a betting app that allows customers to fill out their bet slips at home

Retail sports betting got underway in Nebraska Thursday with the help of WarHorse Casino in Lincoln.

Legal sports betting was first broached in the state legislature in 2020, and just a couple of months later, had the requisite support to go before the Governor. But despite the overwhelmingly early success, the infrastructure was not in place to open the market until this week.

It’s been over two years since Gov. Pete Ricketts signed LB 561 to bring the law into existence, but Nebraska is one of 38 states plus Washington D.C. with a legal market—and most importantly, it is now active.

Taking flight

WarHorse opened a temporary casino at the Lincoln Race Course in September 2022 with plans to build a dedicated sports betting section in 2023. Those plans materialized into what is now a 9,000 square-foot facility with over 1,300 slot machines, a sportsbook, bar and restaurant, horse racing simulcast, and more.

The casino teamed up with Kambi Group, an independent sportsbook partner, to help create their betting platform for guests. An ex-BetMGM manager will be in charge of the sports betting operations.

It may have taken longer than expected, but the Thursday launch is a highly-anticipated breakthrough for Nebraskan gamers.

“Nebraskans have been asking for the opportunity to wager on sports since the ballot initiatives were passed in 2020,” the CEO of WarHorse Gaming’s parent company, Lance Morgan said. “We’re thrilled to be the first casino in the state to offer sports betting.”

One of the benefits of the new availability of sports betting will be the increase in tax revenue. In May, WarHorse Lincoln and the Grand Island Casino Resort combined to produce just $1.3m in tax funding, the lowest amount since January. Sports betting’s resounding success across the country should be guaranteed to help, even in lieu of mobile and online sports betting.

The next step for Nebraska, aside from adding retail sportsbooks to more casinos, will be to legalize an online market and open the doors to mega-companies such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and others. That is where states find the majority of transactions taking place and would lead to far more tax revenue.

Shaping the market

The future of Nebraska retail sports betting looks like this: Sportsbooks must partner with an in-state casino to offer legal sports betting services. Casinos and racinos will then pay a 20% stipend on all gaming revenue, whether that be from sports betting or casino products and services such as slot machines and table games.

Nebraska sportsbooks will be able to offer betting odds on all kinds of local and international sports and events, including college athletics and amateur sports. However, they will not be able to place bets on props and games involving in-state collegiate teams, which is a rule that is found in many other states.

University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant earlier this year spoke about the negative influence of the legalization of sports betting and the ability for locals to place bets on in-state teams, which led to his players receiving an influx of criticism and online hate. Nebraska is attempting to mitigate that with this stipulation.

Although bets must be placed at the WarHorse campus, it has rolled out a mobile app that allows bettors to construct their bet slips wherever they please. So, gamblers and future casino visitors can review the odds and conduct research in the solitude of their homes before bustling down to the property to submit their favorite bets.

WarHorse is also building a casino in Omaha which has a target opening date of the middle of 2024.

Nebraska is known for its die-hard loyalty and fandom of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. Although locals will not be able to bet on their games, the overall excitement of the fast-approaching college football season and the NFL season should help the market get off to a fairly hot start in just a couple of months.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.