Nebraska Moves on with E-Keno as Sports Gambling Continues

Nebraskan lawmakers have ruled to keep two provisions added to the state’s sports betting legalization efforts, to name in-state betting on local teams and electronic keno.

E-keno to Be Part of Nebraska’s Gambling Landscape

Nebraska hit a roadblock when the issue of electronic keno cropped up on a bill designed to legalize sports gambling. After a bit of to-and-fro between legislators, the issue has been put to rest and the bill is now moving forward after attempts to remove keno from the text failed in a Tuesday vote.

LB 561 backed by Sen. Tom Briese now has a chance to see the creation of casino gambling and sports betting, bringing a fresh source of revenue for the state, which is what has motivated many jurisdictions in the country to pursue a path to legalization of gambling operations in the first place.

Seeing Gambling Legalization Through in Nebraska

Any attempt to move LB 561 forward would require the backing of at least 33 legislators as the 2020 referendum on gambling approved and voted on favorably by state residents is not sufficient because new provisions have been added to the language, and not least the mentions of electronic keno and in-state betting.

So far, the bill got 37 votes in the first round of voting advancing and giving observers hope that the matter can be brought to a successful outcome. However, the bill’s sponsor is not happy with the inclusion of keno.

In fact, it was Briese who initiated the vote against the provision, but the vote ultimately failed with 22-11. Another debated and voted on the matter was the prohibition of in-state betting on local teams. The move was put forward by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks but it was shot down with 18-13.

In other words, Nebraska is pursuing a very liberal path to sports legalization. While in-state betting has been ruled out in other states, the Cornhusker State seems to be taking a more encompassing approach, leaving no opportunity for gambling handle to seep through the border or offshore.

Brooks argued that legalizing in-state betting could lead to some traction between fans betting on the spread and local teams failing to deliver. The push for sports gambling along with casino gambling has caught some lawmakers by surprise, but the majority seems to favor it.

Sen. Adam Morfeld explained that Nebraskans are already betting on Huskers games, by having a trip over to Iowa or betting online, alluding to offshore gambling.

What’s to Come Out of It?

Setting up casino gambling at racetracks is one of the immediate changes expected. Early estimates put gambling activity as worth $455 million between 2022 and 2023. A total of $91 million is expected to be generated in tax and $64 million of that should go to property tax.

Casino gambling will be levied with a 20% tax and gambling will be hosted out of horse racetracks in Omaha, Columbus, South Sioux City, Grand Islands, Hastings and the casino at Lincoln.

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