- Nebraska voted in favor of legalized gambling
- Lawmakers now must work out the details of how Nebraska casinos will operate
If you following gambling news (and if you’re here, we’re going to make a wild bet that you do) you’ve probably noticed an influx of states rushing to legalize gambling or sports betting — Nebraska is one of the most recent states to legalize casino gambling.
Right now, the industry is determining how they can best regulate gambling activities and produce revenue for the state. On February 1, Members of the Legislature’s General Affairs Committee began discussing what legalized gambling could look like in the state.
What ideas did members float? Here are some of main proposals from their meeting:
- Credit cards would be prohibited for gambling use
- Misdemeanor charges for players who cheat
- Require casinos to create a system that prevents gabling addictions from playing
- Sports betting would be confined to land-based casinos (This proposal in particular is controversial, with one lawmaker opposing since there are no casinos in their district).
Nebraska votes ‘yes’ for gambling
Gambling and sports betting was on the ballot during November’s election, and two-thirds of its residents voted in favor of constitutional amendments that could allow casinos at horse racing tracks, and dedicate a portion of that money to a tax credit for property owners. Now, Nebraska lawmakers are working out the details of what expanded legalized gambling & betting would look like, and where the revenue would go.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure that the will of the voters is respected.”
The campaign to bring betting and gaming to Nebraska is helmed by Ho-Chunk Inc., a company owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The company wants to open casinos in Omaha, Lincoln, and South Sioux City.
“We’ve been watching somebody eat our lunch for 20 years and not care about us…We believe in coming full circle. We’re back, and now, we are going to take their business and bring it to Nebraska,” says Ho-Chuck CEO Lance Morgan, which echoes the sentiment of others states who want to bring revenue being spent by their residents in other states, back home.
Nebraska gambling faces opposition
Despite Nebraska following the trend of other states, there are certainly some who oppose the proposed legislation. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, for example opposes the bill and believes an increase in casinos will increase gambling addictions, and in its wake more crime and bankruptcy.
When it comes to revenue, some like Sen. Suzanne Geist, have made proposals that would move some of the gambling revenue from Lincoln casinos in her district to the organization who produces the Lancaster County Super Fair. She uses the Nebraska State Fair as precedent, as they receive funding from the Nebraska Lottery.
Senator Tom Briese, who’s also chairman of the General Affairs Committee, personally opposes the bill, however, he recognizes that lawmakers must move to create rules for casinos, saying, “It’s our responsibility to ensure that the will of the voters is respected,” said Briese.