December 28, 2022 3 min read


Harrah’s Nebraska Casino in Columbus to Begin Construction Work

Harrah's Nebraska casino project moved forward and will introduce its temporary venue in March 2023

Harrah’s casino in Columbus, Nebraska, received the go-ahead from the state’s regulator and the developer is ready to begin construction on the building’s framework in the coming weeks.

Harrah’s Casino to Open in 2024

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission green-lighted during its meeting on December 21 the beginning of construction work for the permanent casino that will be located off of Highway 81 on the former Wishbones property, The Columbus Telegram reported.

The Harrah’s casino was announced in June 2021 after Caesars Entertainment and Columbus Exposition and Racing (CER), a not-for-profit entity dedicated to the future of horse racing in Columbus and Nebraska, signed an agreement to build and develop a casino and racetrack in Columbus.

The casino was made possible by Nebraska voters in the November 2020 election in which they allowed the state’s six racetracks to offer gambling as part of a statewide gambling expansion. Columbus is one of the six cities with a racetrack in the state.

The property which will feature a sports bar, a sportsbook and a restaurant, besides a gaming floor with hundreds of slot machines and electronic and table games, is expected to open to the public in March 2024. Caesars Entertainment is also planning to add a simulcast area and a one-mile horse track to the venue.

Convergence, LLC, the owner of the land off of Highway 81, will build and develop the casino, racetrack and Marriott Hotel near the racetrack. The hotel will be operated by neither Caesars nor CER.

Temporary Venue Functional within Months

A temporary Harrah’s casino at Platte County Agricultural Park featuring 250 slot machines is expected to become functional a year earlier and operate until the permanent property is constructed. The temporary venue was also approved during the commission’s meeting.

The temporary facility was made possible after an agreement signed between Caesars and the Platte Agricultural Society earlier this year allowed Caesars to use the downstairs exhibit hall at Ag Park until the permanent casino property is constructed.

Commissioners approved a request to modify the Ag Park ballroom and remodel the stewards’ stands, including replacing the stand catwalk areas and the windows.

Managing Partner of Columbus Exposition and Racing (CER), Tom Jackson, was excited to see that the temporary casino was approved as it is expected to advance things for horse racing and bring tax revenue to the state and communities.

Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley was relieved that the project is finally moving forward, frustrated that the casino officials needed that much time to obtain the approval, while Dawson Brunswick, president of Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, expressed his confidence that the city “will soon see the economic impact from CER and Harrah’s investment” in the community.

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