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Jerome García January 5, 2024 3 min read
New Report Suggests Current Number of Nebraska Racetracks Adequate
The report was prepared for the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission and highlighted that the existing racetrack licensees are capable of growing the market in the state
Several years ago, Nebraska residents voted in favor of a ballot initiative that effectively connected the state’s racetracks to casino development. The approved initiative requires gambling companies interested in developing and operating casinos in the state to secure approval for a racetrack. This process makes the development of casinos easier for the state’s existing racetrack licensees, which are currently a total of six.
As announced by Fremont Tribune, a new study prepared by The Innovation Group of New Orleans for Nebraska’s gambling regulator, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission, suggested there is no need for new racing licenses. The recently emerged report highlighted that the existing racetrack license holders have “more than sufficient capacity” to triple or even quadruple the racing sector across the state. “The data do not support the addition of more racing licenses,” reads the newly released report.
The findings of the report can be translated as an obstacle for casino developers interested in entering Nebraska. At the same time, the state’s six existing racing license holders may have a slight advantage. Yet, to ensure a fair and competitive market, Nebraska has established robust rules when it comes to the racing and casino sector.
Under the state’s existing laws, the gambling regulator is required to assess the potential impact of new horse racetracks and casinos prior to rejecting or approving submitted proposals. Within the existing regulatory framework, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission must impact new racetracks and casinos would have on the existing market. Provided that a proposal may be “detrimental” to the established racetracks and casinos, it must be denied. Unsurprisingly, such decisions need to be taken on the grounds of studies.
Report to Be Reviewed by the State’s Gambling Regulator
Six racetracks existing in the state are suitable for a casino license. The list includes venues in Grand Island, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Omaha, Hastings as well as Columbus. WarHorse Casino located in Lincoln was the first brick-and-mortar casino to open its doors for visitors.
The recent report explored the potential impact a proposed casino and racetrack in Bellevue may have on the market in the state. According to the new study, while such a venue would help raise Nebraska’s gambling revenue, it may also impact the revenue of the existing racetracks.
The next meeting of the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission is scheduled for January 19. Denny Lee, the Commission’s chairman confirmed he is yet to review the report. The chairman explained it is likely that the study’s results to be discussed during the upcoming meeting of the Commission. Moreover, Lee mentioned that the report is not final and may undergo changes.