- The Nebraska Legislature is close to giving final passage to a gaming bill that includes sports betting.
- LB 561 will allow for retail sportsbooks at six locations within the state.
- In-state college sports betting is banned and mobile sportsbooks will not be available to Nebraskans per the latest draft of the bill.
OMAHA, Neb. – Sports betting legislation in Nebraska changed on Thursday when in-state college sports betting was removed from Nebraska Legislature Bill 561 and the idea of mobile sportsbooks remained a no-go.
Nebraska is a unicameral legislature which means there aren’t two chambers that a bill must go through to be passed. LB 561 has been receiving a favorable path within the Nebraska Legislature until the amendment on Thursday that could lead to a big drop in potential profits from the market.
Regulated sports betting in Nebraska is something that lawmakers have made a great deal of progress within 2021. In April, collegiate sports wagering was included within the measure, much to the delight of Nebraskans and advocates of the sports gaming industry. Nebraska is full of Nebraska Cornhusker fans that already wager on the games but not through local outlets. The state is not home to big professional sports organizations, leading to the large collegiate followings.
Mobile sportsbooks are also something that Nebraskans wanted as they have proved to be the biggest moneymaker for regulated industries nationwide. But lawmakers could not be swayed to allow such platforms to be written into the current draft of the bill.
What The Nebraska Sports Betting Landscape Looks Like
The subject of Nebraska sports betting came about during a vote in November 2020 where the majority of residents were in favor of a gambling expansion. Initially, this was meant to open six casinos at the already existing racetracks statewide. However, there was nothing within the legislation that prohibited sports betting to be added as well, and so the state ran with it.
Through LB 561, sports bettors in Nebraska will be able to go to the six retail locations to gamble on sporting events. College sporting events that are not state colleges will be open with betting lines. Keno that was to be played within bars and restaurants was omitted from the original draft of the bill in this last hearing. The bill states that gamblers need to be 21 years old to engage in the pastime and credit cards are still not able to be used to pay for wagers at these gaming venues.
There is a 20% tax on all revenue from casino gambling and sports betting. The state expects to see a minimum of almost $50 million collected in revenue during the first year of operation in 2022.
The Take Away
Nebraska will be able to wager on sports and casino-style gaming at land-based locations in 2022. College betting will continue to be done through neighboring states and other sources, which is all money lost for Nebraska.
And without a mobile sports betting aspect, that’s also a lot of possible business lost for the state. But one thing to take away from all of this is that sports bettors in Nebraska will be getting local sportsbooks coming to them in 2022.
LB 561 is almost at the finish line to be sent off for Governor Pete Ricketts‘ signature, after landing a favorable vote to pass on Thursday with 31 YEAS and 4 NAYS, putting the bill at the 75% mark of being engrossed.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.