On Wednesday, December 21, Grand Island Casino and Resort, the first casino in Central Nebraska officially managed by Iowa-based Elite Casino resorts, received a license from the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission, to operate legally in the state and will have a grand opening next week.

Temporary casino:

However, this casino is a temporary property while the permanent Grand Island Casino and Resort is under construction.

When completed, the full casino will offer 650 slot machines, 20 table games, a sports book, a variety of restaurants, a 116-key boutique hotel with indoor and outdoor pools, a full-service spa and salon, a gift shop, an exhibit hall that will host live entertainment, and a 400-stall garage.

However, construction of the full casino will begin after the end of the 2023 Nebraska State Fair.

The temporary casino and resort will open on Tuesday, December 27, at Fonner Park. Fonner Park also received a license from the regulator, which approves and regulates the operating hours of the new casino. Also, Fonner Park has selected the general management of the new Grand Island Casino.

The grand opening will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the official opening of Nebraska’s second casino. The first casino is WarHorse Casino in Lincoln.

In a press release on the subject, Dan Kehl, Chief Executive Officer of Elite Casino Resorts said: “We are excited to partner with Fonner Park, which held its first race almost 70 years ago. It’s very fitting that our temporary casino surrounds the Racing Hall of Fame starting a new chapter in Fonner history.

“I thank the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission for their leadership and diligence in the process and approval of our application and look forward to a long future between Elite Casino Resorts, Fonner Park, and Grand Island.”

Temporary casino layout:

The proposed casino and resort will have up to 300 slot machines, horse wagering kiosks and a snack bar.

It will be open daily from 8 AM to midnight Sunday through Thursday and will remain open until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday.

In this regard, Chris Kotulak Chief Executive Officer at Fonner Park, said: “My mission is to provide for the horses, horsemen, staff and the guests of Fonner Park. The introduction of casino revenue puts us on a path of regenerating a once thriving Thoroughbred racing industry in Nebraska.”

Last week, Vince Fiala, general manager of the interim casino and resort, told NCN an in interview: “The casino already employs 100 people. I expect 300 people to work there when the full resort is complete.”