Legislature Addresses Casino Regulation

Lincoln, NE (March 17, 2021)  The Legislature has begun shaping the rules for casino gambling. The Bill advanced is L-B 561. Its sponsor, Senator Tom Briese of Albion, says the voters provided a clear mandate when they approved casinos.

“That mandate is that they want casinos at race tracks, they want those casinos taxed at 20%, and they want the property tax relief that they can provide.”

One consequence that many voters didn’t realize, according to Briese, is that by approving casinos they also approved sports betting.

“We have at least two Attorney General’s opinions that declare sports betting to be a game of chance.  And so, when 70% of Nebraska’s voters approved games of chance, they approved sports betting.”

Briese made it clear that he wants to place limits on sports betting at Nebraska casinos.

“Prohibits the use of credit cards for gambling of any kind, prohibits betting on the individual performance of Nebraska College athletes, and on athletes younger than 18 in an Olympic event.”  The bill also sets the minimum age for betting on horse races at 21.

The bill rolls the regulation of gambling into an expanded version the State Racing Commission, which would be called the Racing and Gaming Commission.  The membership would increase from 7 to 9 members.

Briese’s bill also modernizes the way Keno can be played “to allow keno to be played on an electronic ticket or mobile app as well as paper tickets.”  He emphasized, however, that a person would still be required to be on the premise or “within the geo-fence” of the authorized casino in order to play keno, even if using a mobile app.

The bill advanced to the second of three rounds of consideration.