Commander Dave Fernandez
Casino gaming expert
Casino gaming expert
As the nation is swept up in a major gambling overhaul, Nebraska finds itself unable to swim against the current. And for good reason. A regulated gambling industry provides a win-win for all stakeholders.
Although the state has held out on sports betting for some time now, the last 12 months have made it clear that state officials are keen to include sports betting to the roster as well as expand the gambling industry. However, it must be noted that there are a number of policy measures that will need to be ironed out before any expansion is realized. Added to which, Nebraska will not be moving to provide the public with online betting – not yet anyway.
There are a number of legal casinos in Nebraska that allow residents to enjoy gambling activities within a safe environment. However, sports betting has never been legalized. Since the 2018 reversal of the federal ban on betting, Nebraska has been eyeing legal sports betting. There have been a number of policies that have been floated in the state legislature. The problem has been that all of these outlines for regulated sports betting have been struck down. Lawmakers have been unable to please all sides. Subsequently, those groups averse to expanded gambling services have managed to come up trumps over the last three years.
In 2021, the governor of Nebraska managed to approve measures which allow for sports betting in the Cornhusker State. Lengthy debate and discussions finally concluded in a tangible solution in which regulated and safe sports betting can take place. The idea is that licensed sportsbooks can provide betting opportunities within an existing brick-and-mortar casino.
It is now up to the Nebraska Gaming Commission to approve the final rules before sportsbooks are finally open for business. There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the date at which sportsbooks will actually be allowed to offer betting services. Many are still hopeful that the conclusion of this venture will coincide with the upcoming Super Bowl LVI. If not, it surely won’t be long after the fact. At the end of the day, legal sports betting in Nebraska is on its way. We can speculate but – if all goes smoothly – online betting might be somewhere around the corner, too.
It would be remiss not to mention the fact that a potential new law will actually limit growth within the gambling industry in Nebraska. Yes, retail sportsbooks will soon be a reality – a dream come true for avid sports fans. However, the actual growth of more land-based casinos, and ultimately sportsbooks, may well be curtailed. The new law looks at limiting casinos within a certain radius. More specifically, the proposed law will limit the number of casinos within a 50-mile radius to one. Therefore, the ability to build and run multiple casinos in a similar geographic area will be extremely difficult – if not impossible.
The latest proposal to embark on a massive venture in which a 5,000-seater racetrack is to be built will also be quashed if this new law is passed. It’s evident that the law will stifle growth across the state. The flip-side to this law may be that the market will eventually be saturated as too many locations will open in an effort to capitalize on the lucrative nature of the gambling industry. A middle-ground should possibly be met where growth can still be cultivated without being of detriment to society at large.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments coming out of Nebraska. Our experts work tirelessly round the clock to ensure that you’re in the loop all of the time!