Temporary casino weeks away from opening
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- A temporary casino facility is likely to open before 2023 in Grand Island.
It will be on the concourse of Fonner Park. It will have 300 machines, kiosks for horse betting, simulcasting, snacks and a club section; and table games will be added later.
Grand Island General manager, Vincent Fiala said the casino will bring jobs to the city. Right now, they are employing over 100 people and they still have 10 positions to fill. The permanent facility will add over 200 more employees by December of 2024.
“Gaming is an experience, so people will pay for an experience, they’ll love to come and do something different and this is something different to the area," Fiala said. "I just hope people come and visit us and give us a try. Because I think this is going to be good for the state, the county the city and good for just the surrounding area.”
Fiala said they are waiting for approval from the Nebraska Racing and Gaming commission, which could come on Wednesday. Once they get approval they hope to open in a couple of weeks.
Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak said the casino will bring property tax relief and benefit city and county budgets. For him, he said the new venture is a little more personal.
“For the horses and horseman and my staff and the guests, we are now going to elevate our game," Kotulak said. "We’ll be able to present a much better product because we have money to work, and we haven’t got that in the past.”
The permanent casino construction will start after the State Fair next year, and it is schedule to open in December 2024.