In the American state of Nebraska and an entity known as Hastings Prairie Thunder LLC has reportedly received local planning permissions that could soon see it given permission to bring casino gaming to the 100-year-old Adams County Fairgrounds.
According to a Wednesday report from the local News Channel Nebraska broadcasting organization, the nine-member Hastings Planning Commission has granted rezoning and conditional use permits to the proposed project by seven-to-two and eight-to-one margins respectively. The source detailed that this means the proposition to bring a casino with some 200 slots to the existing horseracing facility could now soon be put before the eight members of the Hastings City Council.
Citing an earlier report from local television broadcaster KSNB-TV and News Channel Nebraska disclosed that the initial plan to bring a casino to the small city of Hastings was shelved some seven months ago after the community’s planners disapproved by a four-to-three vote. However, local legal counsel Brian Jorde purportedly explained that the latest green lights followed changes to the original proposal that encompassed a 24% reduction in the amount of land that would need to be re-zoned to 38 acres alongside a commitment to move the venue’s horseracing track to the middle of the property.
Jorde reportedly told KSNB-TV…
“The overall property is about 155 acres so there is going to be opportunities to work with local developers to develop whatever the economy and city need outside of just the casino and racetrack and we are looking forward to new commercial and residential ventures.”
Nevertheless, the broadcaster reportedly noted that some local residents remain opposed to the idea of bringing a casino to the southern Nebraska horseracing venue despite the prospect of such a development leading to much needed tax relief. One of these, Richard French, purportedly declared that any cash being spent within the proposed gambling-friendly facility would ultimately flow ‘out of town’ and hurt local businesses.
French reportedly told the television broadcaster…
“I am all in favor of property tax relief but I am afraid that the dollars going through this casino and out of town will take away from our businesses, our local restaurants, our hotels, our church our college, our charities and our foundations and that we will bring in more crime.”
Nebraska is home to almost two million people and passed a local constitutional referendum in November of 2020 so as to allow horseracing tracks in ‘The Cornhusker State’ to apply for permission to begin offering a range of Las Vegas-style gambling entertainment. This significant alteration purportedly prompted a number of operators to apply for the go-ahead to bring small casinos to the midwestern jurisdiction’s existing Fonner Park, Horsemen’s Park, Lincoln Race Course and Atokad Park venues.