Ho-Chunk Inc., the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s economic development wing, is planning to build a sports bar and simulcast wagering center and short horse track at the site of the now-shuttered Atokad Downs in South Sioux City. Not too long after Ho-Chunk purchased the property in 2013 tribe officials said they had plans to open a casino at the site.
Last month, Alexcia Boggs, Ho-Chunk development director, said that no matter what transpires with a proposed casino ballot issue, the South Sioux City track will be built. The track is waiting for its license to be approved by the state racing commission. Ho-Chunk is planning to build the track this summer, with the first race to take place sometime in September. The track will host one live race every year, which is the minimum requirement to hold a simulcast betting license.
In favor of expanded gambling in the state is a group called Keep the Money in Nebraska. The group wants to give Nebraskans the opportunity to vote on expanded gambling proposals that would allow wagering at the state’s racetracks and help save its horse racing industry. They say that that in recent years the state has lost billions of dollars to neighboring state’s due to people leaving Nebraska looking for gambling options.
Four tribes currently operate one casino each in the state. The newest casino is the Ohiya casino & Resort in Niobrara which opened in 2013 and offers 400 Class II slot machines on a 25,000 sq ft casino floor.