Kambi will run wagering for WarHorse, which also owns casinos in Omaha and South Sioux City and is owned by Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe. The new sportsbook, which opens at 3 p.m. local time, will feature 10 betting kiosks and a teller window. Nebraska voters legalized sports betting in November 2020, but it has taken some time to get things up and running.
“Nebraskans have been asking for the opportunity to wager on sports since the ballot initiatives were passed in 2020,” Ho-Chunk CEO Lance Morgan said via press release. “We’re thrilled to be the first casino in the state to offer sports betting.”
The launch is later than WarHorse officials had hoped for, but does overlap with one of the biggest annual sporting events in the state: the College World Series in Omaha. While bettors cannot wager on Nebraska teams playing in the state, they can bet on other college teams and events. Betting on professional sports is also allowed.
WarHorse also first casino to open
WarHorse Lincoln was also the first casino to open in the state when it did so last September. According to the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC), Grand Isle Casino and Harrah’s Columbus Casino have been awarded gaming licenses, but neither has requested a sports wagering license.
Nebraska’s new law expanded gaming to include games of chance, and lawmakers later included sports betting under that umbrella. While digital wagering is not explicitly prohibited under the new law, it is also not explicitly approved, and current regulations do not allow for it.
— Robin Eschliman (@GrowLincoln) September 25, 2022
Nebraska regulators approved a limited bet menu that includes all major professional and college sports, but does not allow for wagering on Olympic sports or international soccer. NRGC Executive Director Tom Sage told Sports Handle last month that the initial goal was to get a working bet menu approved, and that his expectation is that it will expand over time.
With the launch, Nebraska becomes the third new state this year to begin offering sports betting after Ohio and Massachusetts, both of which went live with retail and digital wagering in the first quarter. Three other states — Kentucky, North Carolina, and Vermont — have legalized sports betting this year but have yet to launch.
Kentucky law mandates a go-live date of Dec. 28, 2023, or sooner, and it’s possible both North Carolina and Vermont will try to launch by the end of the year as well.