Nebraska lawmakers deciding which cities will be lucky enough to build a casino
Some proposed bills only allow a certain number of establishments at specific locations
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce is now weighing in on regulating the location of casinos after gambling was approved in the 2020 election.
They voted 23-8 in favor of opposing any attempts by state lawmakers to create limitations on the number of casinos based on geography.
Right now, the six horseracing tracks are expected to have casinos: Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus, South Sioux City and Hastings.
Sen. Tom Briese of Albion chairs the Legislature’s General Affairs Committee, and according to the Nebraska Examiner, he wants to ensure that casino gambling will help save the flagging horseracing industry in Nebraska. The committee is deciding on a bill that will regulate casinos in the state by location and number. A part of the proposal would require any new casinos to be at least 50 miles from the racetrack casinos (called racinos). Five new locations have applied for casino licenses already: Bellevue, Gering, Norfolk, North Platte and York. If the bill proposal goes through, Bellevue, Norfolk, and York will be restricted from building casinos since they are less than 50 miles from a racetrack.
Pat Loontjer of Gambling with the Good Life agrees with limiting the number of casinos to the original six at horseracing tracks. “Let’s wait a couple of years, see how it impacts those communities and family and taxes, and then see if we want to inundate the state with casinos.”
Other towns feel they will miss out on a good business opportunity if they are not allowed to have casinos.
According to the Nebraska Examiner, Sen. Briese said that it seems like people want more than six casinos since they were legalized by such a large margin.