WINNEBAGO, Neb. Ho-Chunk, Inc. will help sponsor a statewide ballot initiative petition that would allow
voters to decide whether to expand gaming at Nebraska-licensed race tracks.
Ho-Chunk, Inc. and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Association (HBPA) are partnering to
bring the issue to Nebraska voters in the November 2020 election.
The initiative would allow legalized casino gambling, and possibly sports betting, at the state’s horse
racetracks. Nebraska is missing out on taxes and proceeds from about $500 million that residents wager
annually in surrounding states, estimate Ho-Chunk, Inc. and HBPA.
“We believe the revenue should stay in Nebraska,” said Lance Morgan, President and CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc.
“There’s been lots of interest to partner with us on the petition drive.”
The language of the petition will be finalized this winter with signature collection starting next year.
A similar petition drive sponsored by Ho-Chunk, Inc. and HBPA in 2015-16 ended without the required
number of signatures. One of the challenges was complicated language on the petition.
The new petition would ideally have simpler language and fewer questions. Ho-Chunk, Inc. and HBPA will
also hire a new group to collect the required number of valid signatures.
“This shows we don’t give up. We’ve got to get it exactly right,” Morgan said.
Ho-Chunk, Inc. and HBPA are considering whether to include sports betting on the petition but that would
likely complicate the language. Sports betting also brings in far less revenue than casino-style gaming.
In 2016, Ho-Chunk, Inc. acquired a former racetrack in South Sioux City and reopened it as Atokad Park.
One race has been run each year. This year’s race is Saturday, Sept. 15