A fight is building over who will run the casino Lincoln’s horse racing track, authorized by voters.
Big Red Keno claims to have a written operating agreement demonstrating its authority to conduct any increased gambling there.
Big Red Keno cites a contract with Omaha Exposition Racing Inc. and the Lincoln Race Course from 2013 in a complaint filed in Lancaster County District Court last week.
Part of the contract said:
If additional gambling activities are legalized in the future, and you wish to offer those activities at the premises, we agree to use our best efforts to make those activities available to you on mutually agreed terms.
And in view of our significant capital investment… you agree not to permit anyone other than us to offer, supply, or install gambling activities under any circumstances before the scheduled expiration date of the agreement.
The deal, according to Big Red Keno, is valid until 2033. However, the Winnebago Tribe’s Ho-Chunk Inc. and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association revealed plans in March to develop a 220$million hotel, casino, and event center on the Lincoln site. The horsemen’s group owns the area.
Despite Big Red Keno’s efforts to discuss the matter with Lincoln’s racecourse, Lincoln racecourse refused to honor the contract and has proceeded to breach the contract by moving forward with services from another provider
said Big Red Keno’s attorney Stephan Mossman in a statement.
Big Red Keno is seeking the court to prohibit anybody other than Big Red Keno from offering, supplying, or installing gaming activities at the premises “under any circumstances” before 2033. It also seeks payment for any monetary damages.
Chris Jerram, an attorney for Omaha Exposition and racing, stated in a letter to Big Red Keno that the OER is not the one increasing gaming. It just rents the land and runs the races. The lease does not give OER sole possession of the land, and it expires in January 2024.
The new casino will be built, owned, and operated by Ho-Chunk.
Morgan is unconcerned that the legal action will cause them to change or postpone their plans.
The Benevolent and Protective Association of Nebraska Horsemen declined to comment on the case.