Nebraska: A Bill Proposes Vending Machines for Lottery Tickets

A bill in Nebraska proposes to introduce lottery ticket sales via vending machines.

New Bill Proposes Changes to Rules for Selling Lottery Tickets

Nebraska is one of the US states that has restricted casino gambling to Tribal operators. The state also offers wagering on horse racing, as well as lottery. But the state’s current gambling regulations restrict the distribution of lottery tickets via mail, telephone or vending machines.

However, last month, Senator Eliot Bostar introduced Legislative Bill 1268, which proposes to amend the current regulations related to selling lottery tickets. The new proposal is expected to be heard on February 28. If approved, the bill paves the way for lottery selling via vending machines in Nebraska.

If the new bill gets traction and lawmakers green light the proposal, Nebraskans will see lottery tickets-only vending machines for the first time. However, to protect the consumers, the new machines will likely request gamblers to scan their ID or driver’s license. This way, the machines would prevent underage individuals from gambling. Moreover, if LB 1268 is approved, a new stream of tax revenue would be created.

Will the Proposed Change Bring More Harm than Good?

As with any changes related to gambling, not everyone agrees that introducing vending machines for lottery tickets would bring benefits only. In fact, opponents of the proposal raise concerns about a possible increase in gambling addictions. According to Gambling With The Good Life’s (GWGL) executive director, Pat Loontjer, who recently spoke to KLKN, such gambling expansion may lead to losses for many players, which is a problem.

GWGL is a citizen-action organization that opposes gambling in Nebraska. Founded back in 1995, the organization consists of political leaders, businesses, religious groups and other individuals that unite their efforts against “the predatory gambling industry.”

“Anything that the state – and this is a nationwide statistic – any dollar that the state gains in gambling revenue, it costs them three dollars in social costs because you’re going to have increased crime, increased addiction, and increased domestic abuse, all of the things that we’re going to have to pay for and it doesn’t show up as related to gambling, but it is.”

Pat Loontjer, executive director at Gambling With The Good Life

Loontjer explained that GWGL has been fighting the gambling expansion for the last 25 years. She pointed out that the lottery ticket vending machines may result in some people losing their entire paycheck. Citing a nationwide statistic, Loontjer outlined that $1 in gambling revenue for the state costs $3 in social costs. She explained that the main reason for those social costs is an increase in crimes and addictions, which also brings domestic abuse.