Harrah’s Columbus Casino Set to Ignite Nebraska’s Gaming Scene Next Month


The much-anticipated Harrah’s Columbus, Nebraska Casino, a divinely lavish gaming haven, has been authorized to open next month by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission. This good news was joyously delivered on Friday when state gaming regulators gave Harrah’s Columbus, NE Racing & Casino the go-ahead to inaugurate its palatial gaming venue on May 13.

Sprouting from the entertainment colossus, Caesars Entertainment, theLas Vegas-based titan poured a staggering $100 million into crafting a fresh and exhilarating horse racetrack just northwest of downtown on U.S. Route 81/Howard Blvd. Standing proud as the only one-mile horse racecourse in all the Cornhusker State, Harrah’s Columbus promises more than just a world-class racetrack. It also boasts a tastefully designed gaming space, spanning 17,000 square feet and replete with 400 slot machines and 11 live dealer tables for a generous thrill of games.

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But Harrah’s Columbus is not just about the games. It’s about the experiences. The casino will be infused with an integration of entertainment and lifestyle zones including a Caesars Sportsbook. Craft beer enthusiasts can revel in the Brew Brothers section, while sports lovers can unwind at a sports bar named Wishbones, a delightful nod to the former events center that stood on its ground.

Indeed, Harrah’s Columbus is a game-changer for the gaming industry of Nebraska. Thanks to the 2020 ballot referendum that revamped the state constitution allowing Las Vegas-style casino gambling at licensed horse racetracks, Harrah’s Columbus is now set to become the first permanent casino in the state.

In a nod to its racing roots, however, the casino will also house a race book offering pari-mutuel wagering even as it waits to unveil live racing from August. It’s a condition required by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission: live horse races must be held on the same property where the casino operates.

Adding to its allure, an adjacent Marriot hotel is currently in the finishing stages of its construction, and its grand opening is expected to coincide with the casino’s commencement.

Caesars has proven its unwavering commitment to revitalizing the county’s casino scene, following its temporary operation at the Platte County Agricultural Park, fondly known as Ag Park. Instead of opting to refurbish Ag Park, Caesars boldly chose to construct an entirely new racetrack venue which resulted in Harrah’s Columbus garnering the accolade of being Nebraska’s first permanent casino.

The casino is currently in the process of bolstering its staff, with numerous vacancies up for grabs across an array of positions, from sportsbook staff and waiters to internal auditors and bartenders.

There’s a slight deviation, however, from the casino’s original blueprint announced back in March 2023. The casino floor was initially planned to cover 28,000 square feet with 500 slot machines and 14 table games. However, the finished development houses a slightly smaller gaming space yet promises to be every bit as exciting.

Ultimately, Harrah’s Columbus joins an exclusive trio of four permanent casinos being constructed in the state, threading a promising narrative of entertainment and economic development in Nebraska. The countdown begins to the unveiling of this gaming paradise!