After much speculation, WarHorse Gaming, LLC, has announced plans to build a five-meter-long horse racing track and eventual gaming facility at DeVent Center in Norfolk.
WarHorse is a division of Ho-Chunk, Inc., which owns land along Highway 275 near Divots. The land is also in a proposed redevelopment area.
âNorfolk has a long history of supporting horse racing, but does not have a track in the community. We hope to bring the excitement, entertainment and significant economic development that will accompany the full development of the site, âHo-Chunk CEO Lance Morgan said in a press release Thursday afternoon.
For those who are unfamiliar, eight leaves equals a mile. This means that this trail will be 5/8 of a mile.
Representatives from WarHorse Gaming will appear before the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission on Friday to formally apply for a racing license before beginning construction of the new track and renovating existing structures.
WarHorse Norfolk is expected to bring about $ 2.1 million in annual tax revenue to Norfolk and Madison County and employ around 250 people. With plans for nearly 500 gaming positions and a bookie, the state’s property tax relief fund could see an increase of $ 8.4 million per year from the future Norfolk casino, the statement said.
âThe benefits for community development are clear,â said Josh Moenning, Mayor of Norfolk. “The project attracts new investment from a northeastern Nebraska-based business, is part of the solution to lower property taxes, increases tourism and spurs new economic activity, and adds to the growing mix of locations. entertainment and recreation that make Norfolk a vibrant city and vibrant place to live and visit. Beyond that, it allows local racing enthusiasts to stay closer to home to enjoy the sport, keep money in the local economy and is one of the most significant business investments in Norfolk these last years.
Brian Chamberlain, executive director of WarHorse Gaming, said the city government has been very supportive.
âSo it’s incumbent on us to build a top-notch facility that complements horse racing, while providing customers with a next-level experience,â he said.
If the proposed redevelopment area is approved, WarHorse Gaming may seek tax increase funding to help reimburse the costs of the project.
Donna Herrick, CEO and President of Divots, said she was delighted to welcome WarHorse Gaming to Norfolk.
âWe are delighted that they are converting our DeVent Center into a new level of entertainment experience for the Norfolk community. It will be a great addition to the leisure and hospitality features available at Norfolk Lodge, âshe said. “It’s great to work with WarHorse, and we hope to have a long relationship with our new neighbor.”
In addition to the proposed facility in Norfolk, WarHorse Gaming, LLC will be responsible for managing the casinos and gaming operations at South Sioux City, Lincoln Racecourse and Horsemen’s Park in Omaha. The Omaha and Lincoln properties are a partnership with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which own the racetracks at these locations.
While still in the planning stages, WarHorse Gaming anticipates that construction of the track and facility could begin later this year, with full operations starting in the spring of 2022.