February 15, 2024 3 min read

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Nebraska Legislators Move Forward with Bill to Regulate Skill Gaming

The proposed bill entails implementing a 5% tax on skill games machines' net profits, in addition to a $100 fee per machine that distributors must pay

Nebraska lawmakers are pushing ahead with a bill aimed at tightening regulations on skill gaming machines present in various establishments statewide. The bill, LB685, spearheaded by State Sen. John Lowe of Kearney, has passed its initial stages with a resounding 31-0 vote in favor.

Proposed Laws Tackle Skill Games’ Growth with Taxes and Stricter Regulations

Skill games, often found in bars, restaurants, convenience stores, and other locales, have proliferated significantly over recent years. Unlike traditional slot machines, these games require a degree of skill to win, blurring the lines between entertainment and gambling. However, concerns have been raised about their addictive nature and potential societal impacts.

The proposed legislation seeks to address these concerns by implementing several key measures, reported WOWT. Firstly, it introduces a 5% tax on the net profits generated by these machines, alongside a $100 fee per machine paid by distributors. For larger distributors with 50 or more machines, this fee would increase to $5,000. 

The generated tax revenue would be allocated to various avenues, including property tax relief, funding for enforcement measures, and contributions to the state’s tourism initiatives.

Moreover, LB685 aims to establish stricter guidelines regarding the sale of co-branded alcoholic beverages, preventing their proximity to non-alcoholic counterparts. This measure aims to mitigate potential confusion among consumers and ensure compliance with age restrictions on alcohol sales.

Nebraska Legislative Debates Highlight Concerns Over Skill Games’ Resemblance to Slot Machines

During legislative debates, concerns were voiced regarding the distinction between games of skill and games of chance. Some senators argued that these skill games essentially function as modified slot machines, emphasizing luck over skill. 

Additionally, there were apprehensions about the proliferation of these machines, with worries that they could attract criminal activity and exacerbate societal issues.

However, proponents of the bill argue that tighter regulations are necessary to prevent the unchecked expansion of skill gaming establishments. 

Last year Nebraska faced a surge in skill games with over 4,700 units spread across retail venues, prompting lawmakers to reassess regulation and taxation. Concerns mounted over addiction risks and unlevel competition, leading to calls for increased oversight and enforcement, mirroring similar debates in other US states like Pennsylvania and Virginia.

By imposing taxes and enforcing revenue thresholds, the Alabama legislation aims to deter the creation of de facto casinos and promote responsible gaming practices.The bill’s advancement marks a significant step towards addressing the complexities surrounding skill gaming in Nebraska. As the debate continues, legislators are tasked with striking a balance between fostering economic opportunities and safeguarding the well-being of communities across the state.

Author

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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