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This week started out strong for Nebraska gamblers who long to place bets on the Cornhuskers or the Creighton Blue Jays when they are at home, that activity having been discussed on Monday in the form of LB 168, a bill that could allow those types of wagers to become legal.
That’s according to KETV’s Lincoln Bureau Chief Andrew Ozaki who reports that on Monday state legislators heard LB 168, a proposal that would allow residents to bet on state schools when they are playing at home, the bill’s sponsor Sen. Eliot Bostar of Lincoln telling KETV:
"It's not about expanded gambling. Nebraska teams playing in Nebraska are already subject to sports betting. Just not in Nebraska. It's about fairness and consistency in our laws."
Sports betting has been legal in Nebraska since May 2021 when Governor Pete Ricketts signed a bill into law, but no bets have been placed yet due to an elongated regulatory process that has been held up by the vetting and approval of a set of updated rules.
Lance Morgan, the CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., which operates the Warhorse Casinos in Omaha, Lincoln, and South Sioux City, explains to KETV why lawmakers saw fit to make gambling on home games against the rules:
"The original intention was to protect the college player. I'm pretty sure some of the players make more than the coaches with name-image likeness agreements and things like that. They want to win. They want to do the best they can. They want to have a professional career."
It is an understandable concern that has proven to not be a serious factor in the other over thirty states where sports betting has been made legal, though the pushback on this issue continues.
The implication of “protecting the college player” is that pressure from heavy-duty gamblers could impact the on-field production of certain athletes and coaches, and it’s that pushback from those who agree with the law that has kept it in play.
Not according to Lynne McNally, the executive director of the Nebraska Horsemen Benevolent Protection Association, who told KETV that wagering on home games will happen regardless of the law and the state will just lose out on additional tax revenue, saying simply:
"I think that the only thing this accomplishes is that it pushes bets to Iowa."
That’s a preventable loss of potential tax income but not until that market finally launches.
Nebraska state lawmakers are currently in session, and they won’t adjourn until May 26, time enough to consider LB 168 and turn it into law by the time that sports betting market actually launches.
Ho-Chunk CEO Morgan told KETV that the “Warhorse Casino has hired a vendor for sports wagering. They are about three months away from offering sports wagering.”
Perhaps by then all the wrinkles will be ironed out and sports bettors there will finally get their legal market and if all goes well they will also be able to put some money on Husker and Blue Jays home games.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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