In spite of few fans, Nebraska rushes to build horse tracks

Only two venues in Nebraska regularly hold horse racing, and the racetracks in Grand Island and Columbus are generally very quiet, with horse racing rumbling past half-empty grandstands.

Suddenly, communities across the state are pushing to reopen closed tracks and build new ones.

After several defeats in the Nebraska Legislature, proponents of private gambling passed ballot measures in 2020.

For decades, the sport has been in decline in the United States.

"I don't know if we could have survived much longer without casino games," commented horse racing owner Gerald "Wally" Wolleson.

Foner Park's CEO, Chris Kotulak, said his track manages to run 40 race days over four months by giving more "minor league" races with fewer prizes than other states.