Harrah’s Columbus Opens in Nebraska, Slots Player Hits Jackpot

Estimated read time 3 min read

Harrah’s and Caesars Entertainment late last week made history by opening the first permanent casino in Nebraska’s history.

Harrah’s Columbus is officially open in Nebraska. It didn’t take long for a lucky gambler to hit a big slot jackpot. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)

Harrah’s Columbus, NE, Racing & Casino, the $100 million gaming and horse racetrack destination, opened its doors on Friday morning, May 17. The casino space spans 17,000 square feet and includes 400 slot machines, 11 live dealer table games, and a Caesars Race & Sportsbook with a 163-inch video wall and 17 flatscreen televisions.

Harrah’s is an iconic brand that our guests have come to know and love across the country. We’re so happy to be here with our partners and friends as we celebrate what is sure to be a bright future in Nebraska,” said Todd Connelly, Caesars Entertainment’s regional president.

Caesars is partnered with Columbus Exposition, which was afforded a casino permit through a 2020 statewide ballot referendum that authorized slots, table games, and sports betting at licensed horse racetracks. Caesars and Columbus Exposition opted to build a new racetrack, a condition of the gaming concession being that it’s complemented by live racing, northwest of the downtown area.

Columbus Exposition is a not-for-profit entity controlled by Platte County. Caesars and Columbus Exposition will share in the revenue generated at Harrah’s.

Harrah’s is one of five casinos under development in the Cornhusker State. Racetrack casinos are also in the works in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, and Ogallala. Racetracks in Hastings Park and South Sioux City are also expected to commence casino projects in the coming years.

New Facility, Casino

Harrah’s Columbus moved Columbus Exposition’s racing license from Platte County Agricultural Park, commonly called Ag Park, about four air miles northwest along US Route 81/Howard Blvd. The casino replaced the site of the former Wishbones Events Center.

Harrah’s has honored the site’s past by opening a sports bar called Wishbones. The lounge is one of two watering holes along with Brew Brothers, which additionally offers a full menu.

Harrah’s Nebraska will soon open an adjacent Fairfield Inn and Townplace Suites. Both hotels will be operated by Marriott and will be connected to the casino and racing facility.

Harrah’s plans to host live horse racing every Friday and Saturday from August 16 through September 15. The track will also conduct racing on Labor Day.

The Harrah’s casino is open daily from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. With its Nebraska opening, Caesars Entertainment now owns and/or operates 50 casinos in the US.

Jackpot Comes Quick

The first major win didn’t take long at Harrah’s Columbus. The casino says a lucky guest hit a $1,876 jackpot on a Power Push slot machine at 10:14 a.m. Power Push is a title from Incredible Technologies, an Illinois-based slot machine manufacturer.

The big win came less than a half-hour after Harrah’s welcomed its first guests.

Harrah’s operated a temporary casino inside the Ag Park grandstand from June 2023 until recently shuttering the facility in anticipation of opening the permanent property. The provisional casino won about $7.4 million from players during its roughly six-month run last year.

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