Nebraska is edging closer to introducing casinos at racetracks. During a hearing of the state Racing and Gaming Commission, a 67-page document containing the rules of a framework for legalizing casinos was introduced with up to six licensed tracks eligible to open casinos. This includes Lincoln, and while the rules are in their preliminary stage, hopes are casinos will flock to the state.
Casino and Vendors Would Have to Pony Up for Licenses
However, any casino that wishes to enter the state would have to pay the steep price tag of $1 million. On the plus side, the license would be good for a period of 20 years. Nebraska casinos will start smoke-free and will ban all weapons on the premises unless they are carried by security personnel or law enforcement.
Casinos were originally approved in November 2020, with a public hearing now scheduled for December 2021. This means that the process towards the legalization of casinos is already underway. Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is one of the organizations that feels happy with the proposed legislation. Lynne McNally, executive vice president of the association, was pleased with current developments:
“The Racing Commission worked efficiently and diligently, and we really appreciate their efforts.”
Lynne McNally, Nebraska Horsement’s Benelovent and Protective Assocition executive vice president
The proposed framework will seek to regulate every level of business. Apart from casinos, there will be numerous other entities that would have to comply with licensing agreements and purchase a permit. Vendors would be expected to pay up to $5,000 for a period of three years.
There seems to be growing support for the introduction of casino gambling at racetracks in Nebraska right now, but the proposed measures would have to stand further scrutiny on December 17 before they can head into the governor’s office for final approval.
Six Locations Eligible to Host Casinos, More Would Be Excessive
The proposed racetrack casinos would be located at Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Hastings, South Sioux City, and Columbus. Sports betting is currently not included on the agenda, but it may very well be. If things go well in December, the legislature will reconvene in January, allowing lawmakers to discuss possibly extending the current measures to other areas of the gambling experience, including games and sports wagering.
However, there are a few concerns that some people have and address. Announcing plans to legalize casinos based on racetracks could lead to the opening of more such establishments, something that industry observers argue would not be entirely sustainable.
According to Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak, the state lacks the infrastructure to support any more racetracks, citing both shortage of people and racing horses. Nebraska is positive about the passage of a casino infrastructure, though, with locals seemingly in favor of the decision.