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Nebraska’s gambling world is getting a bit crowded these days with at least five more racetracks planned for a market that already houses half a dozen of them, and this surge of Cornhusker State racinos has caused some state lawmakers to be rightfully concerned about territory.
Chances are this sudden influx of new racinos helped motivate Nebraska Sen. Tom Briese to introduce a bill (LB 876) on January 7 that, among other things, would require a 50-mile radius between the proposed racinos and the half dozen racinos already established in the state.
Once made into law, the proposed legislation would force any new applicants for gaming operator licenses at the newly proposed tracks to deliver “proof that the proposed licensed racetrack enclosure … is located a minimum of 50 miles away from any other track that contains a licensed racetrack enclosure currently operating games of chance.”
This stipulation would theoretically keep Nebraska’s growing sports gaming market spread out enough to prevent any new enterprises from directly siphoning business from the previously established operators.
Another part of Sen. Briese’s bill addresses the number of live race days held at each racino, a clause that is meant to ensure that Nebraska bettors are treated to a minimum amount of live racing events.
According to Sen. Briese’s proposal, if a racino fails to hold enough live race days in a given amount of time, it can be shut down, the proposed bill’s wording is clear on that account:
The authorized gaming operator may be required to cease operating games of chance at such licensed racetrack enclosure for a period of time as determined by the (state racing and gaming) commission.
These relatively important concerns and others are part of the reason Nebraska’s retail sports betting launch continues to be pushed back in time.
Last year, Nebraska lawmakers and sports betting industry experts had predicted that the state’s legal market would launch at the end of 2021, but due to rising construction costs and other factors in that state, those plans were delayed to the start of 2022 and beyond.
Some business leaders like Lynne McNally, vice president of the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, are beyond frustrated, these delays costing them potential revenue and the good will of their consumers, recently telling the media:
We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. Our patrons are extremely impatient. They want these casinos up and going right now.
No doubt McNally and other interested Nebraskan parties are growing anxious watching this launching process drag on, one that technically started back when sports betting officially became legal there in May 2021.
The Nebraskan sports betting market is now expected to launch in mid- to late-2022, but even then, resident gamblers would only be allowed to place wagers in person, with mobile betting a whole other topic that will no doubt be debated soon after, so check back often for updates.
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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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