The dream of a commercial casino in Nebraska is one step closer to reality. Lawmakers in the Cornhusker State approved a measure that would allow for casinos at the state’s racetracks. It was the first of three votes the bill must pass before becoming law. For now, bettors will have to rely on Nebraska’s online casino options.
In its current form, the proposed casino bill would allow commercial casinos in six Nebraska counties. Casino licenses would be limited to licensed racetrack operators. To obtain a license, prospective licensees would have to pay a hefty seven-figure price tag. Once approved, the license would be valid for two decades.
Opponents of commercial casinos have expressed concerns about the market becoming oversaturated. The current casino bill would help address that by limiting the number of potential licensees. It would allow for the commercial casino market to develop slowly. However, some proponents of the bill are hoping it is just the first step in expanding commercial casinos statewide.
Casino Bill Progressing Through Nebraska Legislature
Commercial gambling in the US, especially sports betting, has been one of the fastest-growing industries in recent years. However, legislators in Nebraska have been hesitant to join in on the action. Bettors in the Cornhusker State are hopeful that will change soon.
To get the license, operators would have to an initial fee of $1 million. The casino license would last for 20 years. So far, the casino bill has passed the first of three votes by Nebraska lawmakers. It would also appear to have the support of Nebraska residents. A public vote in 2020 approved casino gambling at the state’s racetracks.
Nebraska’s Slow Transition to Casino Gambling
Proponents of commercial gaming in Nebraska still have a long road ahead of them. While other states have been quick to embrace commercial betting options, Nebraska lawmakers have been hesitant. Opponents of commercial casinos cite fears of market oversaturation.
Currently, gambling options in Nebraska are mostly limited to racetracks and tribal gaming options. The lack of widespread competition makes Nebraska a prime location for commercial gaming entities. The current Nebraska casino bill appears to offer a fair compromise for both sides.
If passed, Nebraska racetracks would be allowed to casinos at their venues. However, limiting casinos to racetracks would prevent a large number of casinos from flooding the market. The compromise should help it pass through the remaining legal steps.
Will Nebraska Casinos Always be at Racetracks?
The current casino bill would limit Nebraska casinos to the state’s racetracks. However, many supporters of the bill would like to see casinos move beyond the confines of those venues. Despite the support, it will likely be years before casinos in Nebraska are able to branch out.
The delay could work in the favor of racetracks if the current bill is passed. With a monopoly on commercial casinos, racetracks would be able to build up the necessary infrastructure for a casino. Also, they would have time to build a stable client base before any out-of-state casino developers moved into Nebraska.
A proposed casino bill in Nebraska has passed its first test in the state’s legislature. While the reality of commercial casinos may be far off, it is closer than ever before. With one vote down, the casino bill is beginning to build momentum among the state’s lawmakers.
If passed, the casino bill would allow Nebraska’s licensed racetracks to also operate casinos. Currently, there are no commercial casinos in Nebraska. However, that could change in the near future. The bill still has to pass two more rounds of voting by lawmakers. However, it appears to include enough compromises to get both sides to approve it.
Even if racetracks are approved to operate casinos, the commercial gaming fight does not end there. Proponents of commercial gaming want to see casinos expand beyond Nebraska’s racetracks. However, any possibility of expanded commercial gaming will likely depend on an NRGC study that will take years to complete.