The state of Nebraska is looking to streamline its problem gambling services. Part of the restructuring involves moving the number to a new listing, and a savings of $70,000, which will allow the state to provide additional services for people in the state who have a problem with gambling. The switch will take effect later this month.
Gambling in Nebraska
Although Nebraska has been restrictive with regard to commercial gambling, there is some gambling allowed in the state. There are currently nine tribal casinos in Nebraska, which are run by two separate tribes, the Potawatomi tribe, and the Winnebago tribe. The casinos in the state range from a very small casino, to a full-fledged casino resort. Nearly all of the casinos are spread out along the Missouri River that borders Iowa. There is also a casino along the Platte River in Nebraska as well. The state allows horse racing, pari-mutuel betting, and charitable bingo parlors. Nebraska also has a lottery program, with state and multistate lottery choices. There has been some discussion in Nebraska to incorporate sports gambling as well as online gambling within the tribal casino framework. The debate has been whether to allow the federal tribes to allow sports or online gambling within the state. Tribal casinos do not technically fall under the jurisdiction of the state, because all tribal casinos are governed under the Tribal Gaming Act, which was passed in the late 1980s.
Problem Gambling in the State
The Nebraska Council on Compulsive Gambling has noted that within the population in Nebraska, there are about 2% of adults in the state that has a gambling disorder. This figure is a little less than the figure reported nationwide. Nationwide, researchers have suggested that between three and five adults out of 100 adult gamblers may have a gambling problem. The Nebraska Council has stated that they want to prevent problems with gamblers who have addiction issues. Research has shown that people who have gambling problems have a tendency to have relationship issues and drug or alcohol abuse issues. They may be unable to maintain a job, which leads to loss of income. In addition, gamblers may resort to committing crimes in order to gamble, such as embezzlement or fraud. The council wants to work towards eliminating problems for problem gamblers before they get themselves into serious trouble.
Nebraska collected nearly $40 million in taxes and fees from state gambling proceeds. Overall, Nebraska reported nearly $190 million dollars were spent on gambling in the state in 2017. Some of the money is set aside every year for help and treatment for problem gamblers. Although Nebraska is a small state, researchers estimate that nearly 32,000 citizens have a gambling problem.
With some of their revenue, the Council on Compulsive Gambling operates a hotline for problem gamblers to call. The hotline refers gamblers to treatment programs across the state, or to individual counselors and group therapy. While Nebraska’s rural areas have a shortage of addiction counselors, the council has said it is possible to find help virtually in areas where no addiction is present.
In the past, the council ran its own hotline to refer people to help for their gambling issues. While there will still be someone to answer the number (1-800-522-4700) for a while, the state has contracted with a Louisiana company to offer a new number. The new number will be 1-833-Bet-Over. The change will save the state $70,000 per year, which Nebraska plans to use to offer more treatment for those people who are having problems with gambling. The state hopes that the more problem gamblers it can help the fewer problems the state (and the gamblers) will have down the road.
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