Is sports betting included in Nebraska gambling bills?
LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — With each approved amendment, Nebraskans move closer to having casinos open in several major cities.
General guidelines have been released on how the state plans to regulate gambling, but there is still room for interpretation. For example, the most common question is whether sports betting falls under gambling.
It’s become a divisive debate among the public and lawmakers, defining “all games of chance” and deciding whether sports betting will even be allowed.
“All means all,” says Sen. Justin Wayne.
Wayne argues that when voters approved all games of chance bills, they were including sports betting. If the state chooses to not regulate sports betting at all, says Wayne, people would be allowed to bet on individual performances from Nebraska and Creighton athletes. While the bill would only allow for gamblers to place wagers on the games themselves.
“It isn’t about whether you like sports betting at this point or not. That ship has sailed. It’s a game of chance, it’s out of the barn. It’s about whether you want regulations around it to limit it in any capacity,” says Wayne.
Even senators who have publically opposed gambling, in general, felt compelled to vote for it, saying it’s the will of the people.
“I don’t like gambling, I voted against it this fall,” says Sen. Lou Ann Linehan. “But we lost, we lost big.”
But opponents pointed to the words of Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc. who reportedly said in July that sports gaming was not included in the petition.
“If they say it was not part of the casino gambling aspect of it, I guess I don’t understand why we would just arbitrarily decide to put it in the bill,” says Sen. Joni Albrecht.
Ultimately the legislature approved including sports gaming, as well as expanding keno gaming, allowing use of phone apps to play keno. But, supporters can’t celebrate just yet.
The entire gambling package still needs to be approved two more times by the Unicameral and overcome a possible veto from Governor Pete Ricketts.