Governor Pete Ricketts made sports betting a reality in Nebraska last week. The governor signed LB 561 into law, which is a gaming expansion bill that includes sports betting. There was no doubt that Ricketts was going to sign the bill, but his signature has made residents very excited for the future.
Ricketts Signs Sports Betting into Law
Governor Ricketts inked LB 651 on Tuesday, which was less than a week following the unicameral legislature’s final vote on a bill. The margin of the final vote was nearly unanimous, with 44 legislators agreeing with the legislation. Only three people voted against sports wagering in Nebraska.
The excitement throughout the Nebraska government has translated to bettors in the state. People will no longer have to travel to legal betting states or utilize offshore sportsbooks to wager sports. In turn, this will give Nebraska additional tax revenue, which is pivotal when states are trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ricketts previously stated that he was against sports betting, but the governor had no choice but to sign the bill. Voters in the state-approved sports betting, and the legislature swiftly passed the bill, which established the framework.
However, sports betting in Nebraska will be limited relative to other legal states.
Senator Tom Briese was the legislator who introduced LB 651. He designed the bill in favor of what voters desired for sports betting.
When Briese introduced the bill, he said, “I introduced LB 561 to clarify what the voters approved, and provide some parameters that are both consistent with what the voters mandated and consistent with Nebraska values.”
The Details of Betting Bill LB 651
LB 651 features a constitutional amendment that will allow bettors to wager in the state. However, betting will be limited because there will be no mobile platforms allowed. Also, people in the state will be prohibited from wagering the Nebraska Cornhuskers for any home games. This law applies to all in-state universities.
This will not destroy the market, but it’s expected to be slightly disabling. There are no professional sports teams in Nebraska, and the university’s athletic teams are the state’s main entertainment for sports.
There are plenty of sports fans in the state that will bet on other competitions. Although, there would have been plenty of excitement to wager the Cornhuskers during home games. The legislature believed that it would put too much pressure on the student-athletes. Some officials stated that the bill would not have passed if they allowed in-state college wagering.
The state counted on the additional revenue and did not want to risk including a provision where people could bet on in-state colleges.
The State Racing and Gaming Commission will create and oversee sports betting in Nebraska. Casinos will be the only businesses allowed to open retail sportsbooks. If the casinos work quickly, sports bets should be accepted by football season.
The tax rate for the casinos will be 20%, which is hefty relative to other states. This tax rate, combined with the other restrictions, is limiting revenue by up to 15%.