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Nebraska Still Wants to Make Commercial Casinos Legal

Publish: 09.07.2019

Casino proponents are not giving up on bringing Las Vegas-style gambling to the state of Nebraska, even though the previous attempts have failed.

At this moment, the Cornhusker State allows tribal casinos to operate within its territory, although they are allowed to offer only bingo and card games such as poker.

Legalizing Casinos

Those who want to bring commercial casinos to Nebraska have started a petition whose goal is to tack this issue onto the 2020 ballot. The latest effort is financially supported by the Economic Development Corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

As we have already pointed out, the previous attempts to bring casino gambling to this state have failed. If the matter gets onto the ballot, it won’t be the first time it did so. In 2004 and 2006 was rejected by voters, while in 2014 the state’s Supreme Court decided the casino effort was unconstitutional and the question didn’t even make it to the ballot.

Nebraska Still Wants to Make Commercial Casinos Legal
The latest attempt, however, could be more successful as the public support for gambling increased over the last couple of years.

Apart from tribal casinos, whose options are limited at the moment, Nebraska has keno, horse racing, and lottery games on offer. But the debate over casino gambling has opened another important question – the possible legalization of sports betting.

However, as the lawmakers in Nebraska are strongly against gambling expansion, making wagering on sports legal is probably going to have to wait for the right moment.

The latest initiative has received the financial backing of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and its economic development entity. Commenting on the matter, Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., said restricting casinos represented the height of paternalism.

Avoiding the Mistake They Made in 2014

Morgan pointed out that many of Nebraska neighbouring states were already offering Las Vegas-style gaming options, taking millions of dollars across the board on a yearly basis. Some of these states, such as Iowa, have recently made wagering on sports legal as well.

Morgan said he hoped the voters would approve the casino measures if they made it through to the ballot, and added the current polls showed strong support for the issue.

Casino proponents said the had adjusted the ballot measure to make sure it would appeal both to legislators and voters, and be able to withstand a court challenge.

The latest campaign includes three petitions: one for a constitutional amendment that would legalize casino gambling at horse race tracks in Nebraska, while the goal of the two remaining ones calls for the regulation and taxation of casino-style games.

Back in 2014, the state’s Supreme Court said no to the effort, as it combined all the issued and asked voters to give a single answer to more than one question.

Speaking about the latest attempt to make commercial casinos legal, President of Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association said they had a really good plan and great partners, and pointed out they were very optimistic about the chances they had this time.