Nebraska Cornhuskers Football.

  • Nebraska is one step away from a regulated retail sports betting industry.
  • Nebraska Legislature Bill 561 would make sports wagering on collegiate and professional sports an open market in the state where it is expected to pass.
  • A launch of the gaming market for Nebraska should occur by 2022.

OMAHA, Neb. – The unicameral Nebraska Legislature needs to approve a sports wagering bill during their 2021 session should they want sportsbooks as a part of their newly regulated gaming industry. A piece of legislation is making its way through the chamber with approvals and has just one more hurdle to go. Originally this bill prohibited sports betting on college events from in-state schools but has since been amended with wagering on them now allowed.

Nebraska Legislature Bill 561 was amended to include wagers for Nebraska college sports on Tuesday and unanimously greenlit to move forward by a vote of 39 YEAS AND 0 NAYS. The proposal will require one more vote before going to Governor Pete Ricketts’ desk for signature.

What’s In The Gaming Bill Being Greenlit In Nebraska?

NE LB561 is more than a sports betting bill. While regulated sportsbooks would be part of the package, it’s also about casino gaming in Nebraska. All gambling, including wagering on sports would be done at retail establishments statewide.

No forms of online gaming were included in the current version of the bill that is expected to pass into law. This includes mobile sportsbooks and online keno. Keno was seen in an earlier draft of the measure but has since been removed as Nebraska is not open to gambling online or through mobile applications just yet.

The best news to come out of the amendments that were made was the inclusion of betting on college teams in the state. Nebraska’s biggest import is Nebraska Cornhusker fans. They have been wagering on the games since the school opened its football program in 1890.

If the state failed to include this type of betting in their measure, it would all be money lost to the economy as fans will continue to gamble on the school’s matchups the way they’ve been doing for over a hundred years whether it was in the draft of not. However, without it, there would be no financial benefits to Nebraska which is why it was ultimately added to the bill by lawmakers.

Prop betting on individual athletes that are 18 or younger will not be a part of the Nebraska sports betting market. Sports bettors will need to be 21 to gamble on sporting events in the state. Credit cards are still prohibited as a form of payment at casinos and their sportsbooks.

What’s Next?

There is one more vote needed in the Nebraska Legislature to pass NE LB561. No date has been set for when this will occur. The 2021 session adjourns on June 10 for the year, having Nebraskans see a vote take place some time before then, most likely in the next week or so.

Under the current legislation that should see passage, the Nebraska Gaming Commission (NGC) and Nebraska Racing Commission (NRC) will merge into one regulatory body that will be in charge of sports betting and casino gaming in Nebraska.

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