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Nebraska Inching Closer to Legal Sports Betting

Nebraska Inching Closer to Legal Sports Betting

Nebraska sports betting could soon become a reality. Expanded casino gaming will be available as well. Voters in the state approved casino gaming expansion in November 2020. Lawmakers have used that as a way to get sports betting launched, too.

The language on that ballot referendum in November approved “games of chance.” Lawmakers have determined that sports betting falls under that category. The six current racetracks in Nebraska will be adding new casino gaming options. They will also have the chance to offer retail sports betting. 

LB 560 was the initial bill that sought to bring sweeping changes to the gaming industry in Nebraska. It has since been turned into LB 561. The General Affairs Committee added clauses to include retail sports betting back in March. Now the bill is in the final stages of approval.

The first reading of this bill produced a 37-5 vote of approval. This bill then moved into final consideration. It will take just 33 votes from the lone chamber of the Nebraska legislature to pass.

Lawmakers continue to be in session until June 10 in Nebraska. However, a vote will take place in early May. It’s unclear how quickly sports betting could launch in the state. The 2021 NFL season would be a strategic target.

This package excludes mobile sports betting. A later date may include it, though. All sports betting must occur at specific locations inside the new casinos.

This new sports betting bill will allow for betting on college sporting events. But, there will be a restriction in place on in-play prop betting

Nebraska Will Have Competition

Senator Justin Wayne helped get these additional sports betting clauses attached to the gaming expansion package. He used the incentive of potential profit to gain support. Wayne pointed out that sports betting dollars are going to surrounding states such as Colorado and Iowa.

These aren’t the only two states near Nebraska that offer sports betting, but they are two of the biggest markets in the US. Both Wyoming and South Dakota have recently approved sports betting, adding to Nebraska’s competition.

The lack of mobile sports betting options will keep Nebraska from reaching its full sports betting potential. Regardless, there will still be substantial revenue. Lawmakers shared a report while this bill was on the table that listed some impressive projections.

According to the fiscal note, the gross gaming revenue from the 2021-22 fiscal year estimates right around $37 million in new gaming money. $250 million is the estimation for the next fiscal year.

The gross gaming revenue will help the new operators. But, the state is more concerned about how much tax revenue is generated. There is the belief that tax revenue could reach close to $50 million annually after the establishment of casino gaming and sports betting operations. 

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