Temporary Fonner Park Grand Island Casino Resort delayed to mid-December

Construction of the permanent casino will begin after the 2023 state fair.
Construction of the permanent casino will begin after the 2023 state fair.

The opening of the temporary casino at Grand Island’s Fonner Park, Nebraska, has been pushed back until next month.

US.- The opening of Grand Island’s temporary casino at Fonner Park racetrack, Nebraska, has been pushed back to mid-December. Elite Casino Resorts had planned to open this month.

Last month, the Nebraska Racing & Gaming Commission approved Elite Casino Resorts’ plans for the temporary Grand Island Casino, which will be operational for at least two years. Construction of the permanent casino will begin after the 2023 state fair. It’s expected to open in 2025.

The temporary structure will have around 280 slot machines, a snack bar and horse betting kiosks open to the public. Fonner Park is looking to hire around 100 employees. General manager for Grand Island Casino Resort Vince Fiala said 70 people have already been hired.

Open positions include security, surveillance, environmental services (EVS) or cleaning, food and beverage positions. Job fairs will take place in the upcoming weeks.

Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak said casino gaming will elevate the current status of Fonner Park and Grand Island. He said: “The revenue we are able to get from casino gaming is going to allow us to make a better offer to our horseman, the breeders, the owners, for people to make money at this, and in doing so, they are going to take better care of their horses, we are going to get better horses and horsemen here. It will benefit the whole community with the jobs, and the revenue that comes with that.”

The permanent venue will include a 37,000-square-foot casino floor with 650 slot machines and 20 table games, plus a sportsbook. It will offer four restaurants including a rooftop dining experience, a show lounge and sports bar, a 116-room boutique hotel, a salon and spa, gift shop, an indoor and outdoor pool with an expansive deck and a 400-stall parking garage.

Nebraska voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing casinos at the state’s horse racetracks in November 2020. The Grand Island facility is one of six initial casino projects expected to move forward in Nebraska. Last month, the temporary WarHorse Casino in southwest Lincoln, Nebraska, opened to the public. 

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