October 2, 2023 3 min read


Casino Gambling in Nebraska Surprises Critics with Low Crime Rates

In the wake of Nebraska's decision to legalize casino gambling, opponents of the move predicted dire consequences for the state, including a surge in crime rates

However, a year after the opening of WarHorse Lincoln, the first state-licensed casino in Nebraska, these fears have proven unfounded.

Lincoln Casino Surprises with Minimal Police Calls Despite Concerns

Despite vocal concerns from notable figures like former Gov. Pete Ricketts, billionaire Warren Buffet, and former Husker football coach Tom Osborne, casino gambling in Lincoln has not led to the anticipated increase in criminal activities, reported The Lincoln Journal Star. Law enforcement data reveals that the Lincoln Police Department responded to the casino only 78 times in the past year. These calls were primarily related to minor disturbances and trespassing incidents, resulting in infrequent citations.

Lincoln Police Captain Don Scheinost, who leads LPD’s Southwest Team, expressed his surprise at the low number of incidents. He credited the casino’s cooperative staff and management for maintaining a secure environment. 

Comparatively, other public places like hospitals and grocery stores in the city have generated more calls to the police. For instance, Bryan West Campus, a local hospital, experienced 1,425 police calls, while the Walmart near Lincoln’s southeastern edge had 326 calls during the same period.

Scheinost emphasized that crimes such as car thefts and vehicle break-ins, which are largely preventable, pose more significant challenges to law enforcement. He added that concerns about casino-related crime are not prominent among Lincoln residents, noting that he has rarely been questioned about the casino’s impact on the community.

Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission Proactively Addresses Gambling Issues

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission, responsible for overseeing the state’s casinos, has proactively addressed potential issues related to gambling establishments. In an effort to prevent human trafficking, a problem sometimes associated with casinos, the commission has mandated staff training and the display of human trafficking awareness posters and hotlines in casino bathrooms.

Casey Ricketts, the director of compliance at the commission, acknowledged the possibility of future challenges but expressed confidence in their preparedness. She stated that they were trying to take a very proactive approach, emphasizing the need for collaboration among casinos, problem gaming advocates, law enforcement, and trafficking experts.

Last year Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts approved rules allowing casino gambling in the state, with applications that opened in June 2023. The delay was due to the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission finalizing the licensing fees. 

In October 2022, Nebraska also made progress toward legalizing sports betting in the state, with rules approved by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission. While the exact launch date remains uncertain, sports betting will be limited to in-person bets at horse racetrack casinos. In a 2020 ballot, 65% of voters supported casino gambling to keep revenue within the state, potentially boosting Nebraska’s treasury by $60 million to $120 million annually.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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