Horse track and casino coming to Norfolk
WarHorse Gaming, LLC recently announced its intent to construct a five-furlong horse racing track and eventual gaming facility at the current DeVent Center in Norfolk.
“Norfolk has a long track record of supporting horse racing but isn’t served with a track in the community. We hope to bring the excitement, entertainment, and significant economic development that will come with fully developing the site,” said Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc., parent company of WarHorse Gaming, LLC.
On Friday, July 16, WarHorse Gaming representatives will appear before the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission to officially apply for a racing license ahead of breaking ground on construction of the new track and revamping of the current structures.
WarHorse Norfolk is anticipated to contribute roughly $2.1 million in annual tax revenue to Norfolk and Madison County and employ roughly 250 individuals. With plans for nearly 500 gaming positions and a sports book, the state’s property tax relief fund could see an increase of as much as $8.4 million annually from the future Norfolk casino.
“The community development benefits are clear,” said Josh Moenning, Mayor of Norfolk. “The project attracts new investment from a northeast Nebraska-based business, is part of the solution to reducing property taxes, increases tourism and spurs new economic activity, and adds to the growing mix of entertainment and recreation venues that are making Norfolk a vibrant and dynamic place to live and visit. Beyond that, it allows local racing enthusiasts to stay closer to home to enjoy the sport, keeps money in the local economy, and represents one of the single largest business investments in Norfolk in recent years.”
“The community and city government are remarkably supportive of the development,” said Brian Chamberlain, Executive Director of WarHorse Gaming, LLC. “So it is incumbent upon us to build a top-notch facility that complements horse racing, while at the same time providing guests a next-level experience.”
“We are very excited to welcome WarHorse Gaming to Norfolk,” said Donna Herrick, CEO and President of Divots Conference Center and Norfolk Lodge & Suites. “We are excited they will be converting our DeVent Center into a new level of entertainment experience for the Norfolk community. This will be a tremendous complement to the recreation and hospitality features available at the Norfolk Lodge. WarHorse has been wonderful to work with, and we look forward to a long relationship with our new neighbor.”
In addition to the proposed Norfolk facility, WarHorse Gaming, LLC will be responsible for casino management and gaming operations at South Sioux City, Lincoln Race Course and Horsemen’s Park in Omaha. The Omaha and Lincoln properties are a partnership with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, who are the owners of the horseracing tracks at those locations.
Though still in the planning stages, WarHorse Gaming anticipates construction on the track and facility could begin later this year, with full operations beginning in the spring of 2022.