Nebraska Legislature

  • The Nebraska Legislature has passed legislation for retail-only sportsbooks.
  • Governor Pete Ricketts has until June 2 to sign off on the measure.
  • Nebraska would like to launch its regulated sports betting industry by the Fall of 2021.

OMAHA, Neb. – The Nebraska Legislature passed sports betting legislation on Thursday and is now in the process of sending it to Governor Pete Ricketts’ office for approval. Regulating sports wagering in Nebraska has been a long time coming and a pair of bills have finally made their way through all the green lights with the final one being the signature of the Governor.

LB 561 is for sports betting and LB 561A is for sports betting finances and they were both approved on Thursday. The Cornhusker State has a unicameral legislature, meaning each bill only required the votes of one chamber rather than two chambers as is seen in other states for passage.

LB 561 passed by a vote of 44 YEAs and 3 NAYS while LB 561A had 44 YEAS and 2 NAYS.

What Ended Up Being Part Of The Legislation

Nebraska sports betting will not include collegiate wagers for in-state colleges. This is a huge loss for the state with such a large number of home-school sports teams and sports wagering fans. It will leave these groups continuing to place wagers with other outlets and that will be all revenue lost for Nebraska.

Mobile sports betting was also omitted from the original draft of the legislation. This will be another loss of potential profits with the exclusion of mobile sports betting platforms. At one point during the session, both mobile and in-state colleges were included in the drafts.

Regulated sports wagering in Nebraska will be for strictly land-based sportsbooks. There will be six sports gaming establishments available throughout the state at the existing racetracks that will expand with sportsbooks and casinos. Sports bettors must be 21 or older to engage in the activity. Professional sports, collegiate sports outside of Nebraska, and international sporting events will be open for wagers.

There will be a 20% tax on all GGR made on handle at these establishments. This equates to an estimated $50 million seen in revenue within the first full year of operation in 2022.

An emergency clause has been attached to the bill so that operator applications and rules and regulations can begin immediately after receiving the Governor’s signature. He has until June 2 to decide on whether to approve or veto the bills. The legislature adjourns on June 10 for the year. On the off chance the Governor vetoes the proposal, lawmakers have one day to try and overturn his decision.

By all accounts, Nebraska should see regulated retail sports betting by the Fall of 2021 if all goes according to plan.

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