Amended Nebraska Racing and Gaming Study says Bellevue Quarter Horse Track would be good for Nebraska Racing Industry

Bellevue has Already Been Named as the Top Generating Market for Casino Expansion

Last year, the Innovation Group was commissioned by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) to conduct a statewide horse racing industry analysis, gaming market analysis, and socio-economic impact study. The amended study, which was released in May of 2024, concludes that a Quarter Horse Racetrack in Bellevue would be a positive for the Nebraska racing industry.

This is encouraging news for Bellevue since the original study, released late in 2023, already named Bellevue as the number one revenue generating market for casino expansion in the State of Nebraska.

The amended study indicates a few facts that the City of Bellevue hopes that the NRGC will take into consideration when evaluating the Belle Vue Downs license application:

 

 

  • The Study indicates Nebraska Quarter Horse population should be sufficient to support three quarter horse tracks, one specifically in Bellevue.
  • The Study also indicates Belle Vue Downs would not have any impact on thoroughbred racing at the existing licensees.
  • A quarter horse track in Bellevue would complement the state’s quarter horse industry if its schedule is coordinated with other quarter horse tracks both currently in existence and those that could be approved in the future.
  • The Study indicates incorrectly that thoroughbred enhancements would be decreased by $7.7M when it should be $770K per figures supplied. It also incorrectly fails to recognize Belle Vue Downs proposal of $4.8M in purses which would represent an overall increase of $4.0M for the racing industry in Nebraska (which is comprised of thoroughbred and quarter horse racing).

Belle Vue Downs officials agree with the amended Innovation Group’s study analysis of the quarter horse industry in Nebraska. The report cites there are approximately 80,000 registered quarter horses in Nebraska.  This is larger than Iowa and New Mexico which have thriving quarter horse racing industries. “Once the racetrack opens, we would expect even more quarter horse breeder interest from across the country with our competitive purse structure of $200,000 per race day,” said John Hassett, with Belle Vue Downs. “The quarter horse racetrack will be a unique draw. We expect it to be very popular with the public because quarter horse racing provides a faster-paced race experience. It’s all about speed, exciting to watch and offers a quick turnaround time between races, and Bellevue is the most logical location given its proximity to large population center in the east” Hassett said.

Bellevue is the third largest city in Nebraska and the largest city in Sarpy County, which is Nebraska’s fastest growing county. The City of Bellevue & Belle Vue Downs officials continue to believe that a Bellevue location would greatly improve Nebraska’s ability to pull revenues from neighboring states, specifically Council Bluffs, Iowa.  This should be an especially attractive option for the State of Nebraska to help with their goal of lowering property taxes and maximizing tax revenue for not only the State but for Bellevue and Sarpy County as well.

“We are very excited that the amended study shows Belle Vue Downs would be an additive to the horse racing industry in Nebraska.  It previously acknowledged the significant potential revenue for the Belle Vue Downs Racetrack & Casino, and we feel the revenue estimate methodology of $60 million is extremely conservative and has much greater potential,” said Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike. “Not only is the revenue figure conservative, we know that a new racetrack & casino in Bellevue, along with the proposed regional indoor/outdoor waterpark, will also bring other huge attractions such as hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment options all combining for a huge economic development impact for the city of Bellevue, Sarpy County and the State of Nebraska.” Hike said. “As a Nebraska/Iowa border Community, Bellevue provides a unique opportunity to pull revenue from Southwest Iowa, Northwest Missouri, Cass County, NE and Sarpy County which has a population over 200,000.  Bellevue and Sarpy County should not be denied the benefits of hosting a facility.”

 

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For additional information about this item, please contact Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike at (402) 293-3023 or John Hassett of Belle Vue Downs Racetrack & Casino at 402-618-0038

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