According to some members of its legislature, the state of Nebraska has a gambling problem. The problem is not that people are gambling too much. In Nebraska, they are barely allowed to gamble at all.
States that allow gambling surround the Cornhusker State. However, in Nebraska, there are no traditional table games at the state’s four casinos. People who live in Nebraska feel they are being left out of the gambling pie.
Members of the legislature and some Nebraska residents want to put casino gambling on the ballot for the 2020 elections.
Gambling in Nebraska
Nebraska has some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the nation. The four casinos are all run by Native American tribes. They are Lucky 77 (Omaha Tribe), Ohiya (Santee Sioux), Iron Horse, and Native Star (Winnebago Tribe) They are Class II casinos and operate under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. This law allows Native American tribes to offer gambling on their land. The tribes can offer casino gambling even if it is not legal in the state. Class II casinos do not offer traditional casino games. Instead, they offer slots, keno, and bingo.
The state has charitable gambling sites that offer bingo, keno, lotteries, raffles, and pull tabs. Nebraska has had horse racing and pari-mutuel betting since the 1930s. The state also has four racetracks. A state lottery has been operating since 1992. However, according to Nebraska law, residents cannot buy lottery tickets until they are 19.
The Midwest and Gambling
Nebraska is in the minority concerning gambling. All the states that surround it have more gambling than it does. For example, Iowa legislators recently legalized sports betting. Iowa also has casinos, racetracks, and a lottery. Legislators in Nebraska want to legalize casino gambling, as well as sportsbooks. They think casino gambling would bring much-needed revenue to the state.
Nebraskans have argued that when they want to gamble, they must slip across the state line into Iowa. Depending on where they live, Nebraskans also can travel to South Dakota to gamble. Legislators say if Nebraska had casino gambling, it would keep gambling revenue in the state. Nebraska legislators who favor gambling want the tax revenue to go toward property tax relief. Several states, including Pennsylvania, use portions of their gambling revenue to offer property tax relief for their residents.
Change in the Gambling Laws
Citizens in Nebraska and legislators appear to be split on whether the state needs casino gambling. People who support it say Nebraska could take in more than $120 million a year in tax revenue. This would allow the state to offer property tax relief to its senior citizens. Since many Nebraskans own farms or homes, this would be a welcome relief. Advocates also point out that the stigma against gambling has largely disappeared because social gambling is now acceptable. They also note that many people visit casinos for other reasons besides gambling. For example, many people like going to casinos for the food and beverages. People also go to casinos to see concerts or participate in events.
However, there are other Nebraskans who are opposed to having additional gambling offerings. They say that gambling will increase crime. People who oppose gambling also say the rate of business failures and bankruptcies will rise if the state legalizes gambling. Legislators who are against gambling argue that gambling leads to divorces and the breakdown of families.
There is a deadline for proponents to gather signatures to put the legalization of casino gambling on the ballot. If proponents collect enough signatures, Nebraska residents will get the opportunity to vote for casino gambling next November.
Disclaimer: All images are copyright to their respective owners and are used by USA Online Casino for informational purposes only.