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Nebraska’s First Permanent Casino Opens in May in Columbus



Nebraska to Welcome Its First Permanent Casino in Columbus This May

A Milestone in Nebraska’s Entertainment Landscape: Harrah’s Columbus Set to Open — As Nebraska embraces a new era in its entertainment and economic sectors, the grand opening of Harrah’s Columbus stands as a significant milestone. Slated to open on May 13, this event marks the state’s definitive foray into the casino gambling industry, offering both locals and visitors a premier gambling and entertainment experience.

Background and Development:

On a bright Friday, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission announced the official opening date for the state’s first built-from-scratch, state-sanctioned gambling venue—Harrah’s Columbus. This decision comes after Nebraska voters gave a resounding nod in November 2020 to Initiatives 429, 430, and 431, permitting casino-style gambling at licensed horse tracks.

The Casino’s Offerings:

Harrah’s Columbus is not just the first but also the most ambitious casino project in Nebraska to date. Spanning 17,000 square feet, the casino floor is equipped with 400 slot machines and 11 live table games, including favorites like roulette and craps. Beyond gaming, the establishment will feature a Brew Brothers restaurant and a sports bar named Wishbones, retaining a slice of local history in its modern façade.

Strategic Location and Local Impact:

Located strategically to attract gamblers from Norfolk and Grand Island, as well as the larger cities of Omaha and Lincoln, Harrah’s Columbus aims to become a central hub in Nebraska’s entertainment scene. Columbus Mayor James Bulkley expressed his enthusiasm for the casino’s potential to integrate into and elevate the community’s economic landscape.


Community and Historical Significance:

The casino’s site holds historical significance as it was once known as Wishbones, a popular local entertainment venue. This nostalgic element is preserved in the new sports bar’s name, linking past leisure with contemporary entertainment, thus enhancing community ties and honoring local heritage.

Broader Economic Benefits:

The introduction of Harrah’s Columbus is expected to catalyze significant economic benefits, from increasing employment opportunities to boosting tourism. The casino is projected to draw visitors not only from neighboring cities but potentially from across the state and beyond, positioning Columbus as a notable destination in Nebraska’s tourism map.

Future Developments:

Looking ahead, the landscape of casino entertainment in Nebraska is set to expand further. Following Harrah’s Columbus, new developments are on the horizon, including the Warhorse Gaming casino in Omaha scheduled for an early August debut and another in Lincoln expected by November. Additionally, a grand $100 million casino project at Grand Island Casino Resort is targeted for early 2025, promising to enhance the state’s gaming and entertainment offerings even more.


The opening of Harrah’s Columbus symbolizes a new chapter not only for the city but for the entire state of Nebraska. As this facility takes its place as a cornerstone of local entertainment and economic development, it reflects the evolving attitudes towards gaming and the potential for significant positive impacts on the local and state economy. With robust community support and a clear vision for the future, Harrah’s Columbus is poised to set a high standard for what a casino can bring to its community.


Andrew, a seasoned specialist in sports writing, joins the Gamingo.News editorial team, enriching our coverage with his profound expertise in sports journalism. His fascination with the sports industry ignited in his university days, where he excelled in collegiate sports analysis, eventually steering him towards the dynamic realm of sports betting and online gaming forums. Armed with a wealth of insight and experience, Andrew now channels his fervor for sports into insightful reporting, offering our readers exclusive updates and in-depth perspectives on the latest online gaming trends.

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