During a Racing Commission meeting, Nebraska’s state officials considered new guidelines for racing tracks after the legalization of gambling in the state.
Gambling Expansion Drives the Industry to Uncharted Territory
At а Nebraska Racing Commission meeting this week, officials expressed their concerns and guideline proposals. Although it ended without a decision, it became clear that new racetracks and casinos will impact the already existing tracks.
Horse racetracks are some of the biggest winners from the expansion of legalized gambling in Nebraska, as casinos will tie to horse track locations.
State officials are wondering if the new casinos will turn into new horse racing tracks. They want a plan for building those tracks.
Racing commission members said that they see that there could be negative effects. They said that gambling expansion would drive the industry to uncharted territory, and there will likely be more interest in tracks with gambling legalization.
Not Everyone Wants More Competition
Horse racing has tried to find a way to appeal to fans and revive interest in it for decades. With the expansion of gambling in Nebraska and new casinos being tied to racing tracks, the future looks promising for the industry. However, not everyone wants to see competition in the gambling business.
Fonnor Park COO, Chris Kotulak, said that a new casino would never reach its potential if there is another nearby undercutting its revenue. In his opinion, companies would establish new horse race tracks only for the casinos. According to him, this would harm the already existing race tracks.
Geographic Restrictive Guidelines Deemed “Closed Class”
Some were not happy with the restrictive guidelines based on location. Vice President of Nebraska Horseman’s Benevolent Protection Association, Lynne McNally, said that if this initiative is a closed class, it is not constitutional. “There have to be opportunities to enter the class.”
State Racing Commission Chairman Dennis P. Lee said that the commission could not make a promise at the time, but the industry may look a lot different in 2 or 3 or 10 years.
During the meeting, the Race Commission established that Nebraska’s tracks are the top priority for the commission, and it will revisit the issues once gambling legislation becomes official this summer.
Nebraska’s Sports Betting Bill Moves Forward
Nebraska’s lawmakers approved the legislative bill for regulating sports betting in the state, permitting mobile keno if the player is physically in facilities that allow keno. Legislative Bill 561 moved forward with a 37-5 vote and is advancing towards the next round for consideration.
Just days ago, city officials in Nebraska urged lawmakers to permit mobile keno in facilities where keno is allowed. Bellevue City Finance Director, Richard Severson, stated that keno generated 7.5 million in local revenue over the past decade.