Legalizing sports gambling in Nebraska happened at the end of 2020 but launching a regulated sports betting market there has yet to take place, although last week the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) moved that process one step further by approving regulations.
Cornhusker voters made it clear in November 2020 that they wanted an expansion of gaming in their state including the approval of its first casino – the Warhorse Casino in Lincoln – as well as the legalization of sports betting joining the other over 30 U.S. states that have done the same.
Since then, the NRGC has been engaged in a painstaking effort to set up the aspects of those gaming expansions, and with regards to sports betting the next important step after legalization is regulation, as in creating the rules that sportsbook operators and bettors must follow.
First, though, the NRGC allowed the public to comment on the process and folks have been doing that, from regular Nebraska voters to industry insiders including BMM Test Labs, Caesars, FanDuel, Global Gaming Nebraska, and the attorney general’s office.
Last Friday, with that feedback in mind, the NRGC approved a set of regulations for this gaming expansion and in the sports betting portion, the commission included retail sportsbooks but failed to include the mobile option so popular in many states where that activity has been made legal.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018, so now each state is allowed to choose whether it wants to legalize, regulate, and tax its own sports betting market, and since then almost three dozen states have done so in one form or another, mainly mobile and retail.
Many states recognize that customers who gamble prefer the ease of mobile betting and give bettors the option to place wagers online using sportsbook apps that are already active elsewhere in addition to various in-person options to place bets in casinos and at kiosks.
Nebraska will join these nine other states that have opted to give their resident gamblers the retail option of betting without allowing mobile betting to take place: Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.
In the states that offer both options – retail and mobile – the online market tends to attract more action due to ease of use, so it often makes more money for sportsbooks than the retail market and therefore for the states that charge them a certain tax rate to operate their business there.
Next, it will be up to the NRGC to finalize those sports betting regulations it just approved last week so that a launch date can be set for Nebraska’s new market that will exist in person only, those operators are required to report their monthly action to the NRGC to help calculate the taxes.
Meantime, the state’s first and only casino, the Warhorse Casino in Lincoln, has already begun offering slot play to the public, essentially an appetizer to prepare Nebraskan bettors for things to come when they can place bets on pro and college sports, so long as they do it in person.
No specific launch date has been announced yet, so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.
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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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