Nebraska sports betting is legalized but weeks off launching

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Nebraska retail sports betting is now legal in the state of Nebraska, but lack of infrastructure in place at Nebraska’s licensed casinos means no one will be able to bet on Super Bowl VII, and it’s doubtful whether they’ll be ready for March Madness. 

Where can Nebraska gamblers wager?

The Lincoln Journal Star has reported that Nebraska Racing and Gaming Executive Director said “it’s still going to be several weeks”. 

Nebraska law just passed allows sports wagers to only be taken in-person at licensed casinos and the state’s horse racing tracks. Of the aforementioned, only WarHorse Casino in Lincoln and Elite Casino Resorts in Grand Island are operational – and neither are ready. Nebraska online gaming is yet to be legalized.

There are a number of regulatory steps that will need to be taken by each potential licensee according to Sage. Both casinos must yet apply for and be granted a vendor license for whomever is chosen to run their sports betting operations, and the regulatory commission will have to inspect and approve the retail equipment they will use. 

The reason behind casinos slow to launch sports betting operations is the sheer speed in which legislation was put through. Historically from filing in legislature through to passing ito law, especially with something considered ‘contentious’ like gambling, takes a while in the United States.

In Nebraska, the Racing and Gaming Commission approved the sports betting regulations on 21st October 2022, with the Attorney General’s Office signing them off on January 10th. The final approval came on January 27th showing a remarkably short turnaround. 

What types of gambling are legal in NE?

Legalized gambling is fairly new to Nebraska, with the two casinos operational in 2022 (using just slot machines in temporary facilities) bringing $2.8 million in tax income to the state. Regulators will be hoping that legalized sports betting will help to boost that up too by reducing leak to other neighboring states. 

Overall, the two casinos offering only slot machines in temporary facilities generated more than $2.8 million in tax revenue in 2022. 

The state of Nebraska is bordered by South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa and Missouri. All of the aforementioned have legalized sports betting in some manner, other than Missouri. 

Online sports betting in Missouri is a little way off, with a bill introduced into legislature in early January. There’s increasing pressure in the state to legalize as most of the state’s population are now within clear driving distance of a state with legalized mobile sports betting. 

Sadly for Nebraska online sports bettors, two of the calendar’s largest betting events, March Madness and Superbowl VII are looking unlikely.