Is Sports Betting Legal in Nebraska?
As we talked about on our “Is Sports Betting Legal in My State?” landing page, the strike down of PASPA was simply the door that had to be opened so that discussions could really begin. Some states and legislatures were talking outside of the closed door, but other states were using the ban as a crutch to avoid talking about it. The state of Nebraska hasn’t had a whole lot of discussions and was about the only state in the Corn Belt not to commission a study.
As a result, the Cornhusker State is well behind its neighbors to the east and south. But, it seems like a lot of government officials are perfectly okay with that. Nebraska has four Indian “casinos”, none of which are located in the big cities. These are basically just gaming machines. The state has keno, poker, and a lottery, but games of chance are banned by the state constitution and have been for over 150 years.
Most states have seen an expansion of gaming over the last 15 years. They have added table games to casinos or have opened casinos outside of tribal lands. Nebraska isn’t one of them. It would certainly seem that an expansion of gaming to include sports betting wouldn’t stop there, as operators would want to open actual casinos if games of chance are going to be welcomed. In a way, it really is something of a Pandora’s box for Nebraska. How far are the state representatives willing to go? How far are the people of Nebraska willing to go?
A lot of states have already adopted betting legislation or will pass it within the next 8 to 12 months. Nebraska is nowhere near that point.
Recent News Stories About Betting
If Nebraska doesn’t move quickly with a special session or a ballot initiative signed off on by the voters, then it would be at least 2020 until the state could introduce new legislation per the Columbus Telegram.
The Lincoln Journal Star published editorials a couple of weeks apart about the pros of legalized sports betting and the cons of legalized sports betting and expanded gambling.
ABC 8 KLKN in Lincoln talked with Senator Paul Schumacher about his thoughts.
Hmmm. Nebraska is really far behind other states, but with casinos right on the border in Iowa and South Dakota, the potential revenue loss is a lot to overlook for a state that could use some gains to its budget. On the other hand, the process looks long and drawn out. Nebraska will eventually legalize sports betting, but probably not within the next five years.