A casino may come to Grand Island by the end of the year.
Reportedly, a new temporary casino is expected to start operation at Fonner Park by Christmas. Chris Kotulak, the CEO of Fonner Park, remains hopeful that the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission will provide its final approval of the casino in a couple of weeks. He shared that the state’s gambling regulatory body was willing to make sure that racing had a presence at the planned temporary casino venue, so he made sure television monitors and betting terminals were added. The casino’s general manager-to-be, Vince Fiala, is also optimistic that the project will be given the necessary regulatory approval.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, the construction works on the temporary casino started on September 8th.
Currently, the temporary casino venue is being built inside the Fonner Park concourse. As soon as it starts operation, it will feature 280 slot machines and sports betting kiosks on live and simulcast horse races. Apart from that, customers of the venue will be able to place bets on live and simulcast races at the Finish Line Restaurant, which will also offer some keno operations to players.
Permanent Casino Venue Set to Open Doors in 2024 or 2025 at the Earliest
As confirmed by the CE of Fonner Park, where the temporary casino will be hosted, the footprint of the concourse is not set to change but some remodeling is being done, with Fonner Park’s partner in the casino, Elite Casino Resorts, paying for the adjustments that are being made. Currently, there are some improvements being made there, including the construction of a long, 30-foot-tall wall. A snack bar is also set to be established at the casino.
Mr. Kotulak shared hopes that construction and refurbishment workers will start laying carpet at the temporary casino venue by the end of the week.
The temporary casino venue will be operational from 8:00 AM to midnight between Sunday and Thursday, and from 8:00 AM to 3:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. The temporary casino project features several entries, with the main entry set to be through the vestibule of the Heartland Events Center.
According to reports, table games, including blackjack and craps, will probably be added several months after the temporary casino starts operation.
The temporary casino construction is set to be operational for a relatively short period of two or three years, with the permanent casino expected to open its doors in 2024 or 2025 at the earliest. About 100 people are expected to work at the temporary casino location. The future employees of the Fonner Park venue, which will be known as Grand Island Casino Resort, are being hired and are currently trained inside the 4-H Cafe.
Mr. Kotulak explained that at the time when the permanent casino starts operation, the Nebraska State Fair is set to benefit from the improved concourse, which will have a nicer, climate-controlled area than before. He further noted that the Finish Line restaurant will remain unchanged for a few years before it is updated.