SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) — The Winnebago Tribe's business arm intends to develop a casino at a former horse track in Nebraska, where casino gambling is not allowed.
Chief Executive Lance Morgan of Ho-Chunk Inc. said that the casino would be located at Atokad Downs in South Sioux City, Neb. Ho-Chunk bought the track property last year after the track was closed by the Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
The Atokad development would include a casino, an events center, several dining options and retail shops, Morgan said.
Ho-Chunk was among the losing bidders last month to build and operate a land-based casino to replace the floating Argosy casino in Sioux City, Iowa.
“We went from losing to focusing on Atokad after lunch that day,” Morgan said.
A market analysis shows a South Sioux City casino could win up to 25 percent of the area gambling business, Morgan said. Winnebago Tribal officials fear the larger, land-based Hard Rock-themed casino in Sioux City will hurt business at the tribe's WinnaVegas Casino Resort, 18 miles away, west of Sloan, Iowa.
Morgan acknowledged that the Nebraska ban on casino gambling will be a tough hurdle. The state allows keno, horse racing and a lottery but has resisted video gambling machines and casinos.
Casino opponents have already spoken out against a proposed constitutional amendment this year that would give the Legislature the power to authorize and regulate games of chance.
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