Delays push back opening of Grand Island Casino

Local4 News at 5
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 4:41 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Residents will have to wait a little while longer to test their luck.

The temporary location of the Grand Island Casino Resort, inside the concourse at Fonner Park was suppose to be up and running before Thanksgiving; but that’s not going to happen.

Delays have pushed back the opening now to mid-December. Like many other construction projects taking place, there are a variety of issues.

“Well your supply chain issues of getting a variety of things that we need for the construction of the casino, labor issues,” said Fonner Park CEO, Chris Kotulak. “Fortunately we have many local contractors that we do business with here at Fonner Park. They provided everything they could at the time. Of course they have other customers as well, but we’re satisfied with the pace that we’re on right now.”

With the addition of the casino, Fonner Park will be bringing back another season of horse racing. They are not just trying to revitalize the horse racing scene in the area, but throughout the state.

“With the casino gaming revenue, there’s a portion of that, that goes into our purses,” said Kotulak. “We pay daily purses to the horseman here at Fonner Park. To make it simple let’s say it’s roughly $50,000 dollars a day. Well ideally when we’re up and going full force, we’ll double that amount of purse money.”

As of now, Nebraska horse breeders are participating in out of state competitions. Raising horses to compete in various locations throughout the Midwest, but not in their home state. Fonner park officials are also hoping the attraction of the casino could lead to upgrades to race track as well.

“We’ll be celebrating our 70th year of thoroughbred racing here at Fonner Park in 2023 when the meet opens on February 10” said Kotulak. “Gradually we will continue to provide improvements for the facility and the stable area, as we have the money to do so. We haven’t for decades, now it’s going to start to trickle in.”

Fonner Park has been known as the entertainment hub of central Nebraska. Adding the casino and bringing back horse racing will attract more people to the area throughout the year.