Nebraska Welcomes New Era in Gambling, Launches Table Games
Posted on: August 21, 2023, 05:03h.
Last updated on: August 21, 2023, 10:05h.
A Nebraska state panel authorized the Grand Island Casino Resort to offer table games, essentially ushering in Las Vegas-Style gaming in the Cornhusker State. The move is being called a new era in state-sanctioned gambling in the state.
The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission approved the casino’s request to offer players craps, roulette, and other table games, making it the first property in the state to do so. The NRGC took up the matter during its August 18 meeting as commissioners put into place the gambling issues approved by voters in 2020.
“This is historic,” said Commission Chairman Dennis Lee.
Grand Island is now the second property allowing Nebraskans to legally bet on sports. Sports betting officially kicks off on August 23. WarHorse Casino in Lincoln was the first on board with sports betting in June.
For Grand Island, the past several weeks have been centered around training and hiring dealers for the tables. Preparations for this week’s sports wagering launch have also been intense.
“We hope to open the Elite Sportsbook with two kiosks and two sports windows to bet in person,” said Sharon Haselhoff, regional vice president of Elite Casino Resorts.
Nebraska law requires all sports bets to be placed in person at a betting kiosk at a licensed racetrack.
As reported by Casino.org, the Nebraska Gaming Commission has been ramping up staff in preparation for the gaming expansion.
Nebraska Communities Seek More Horse Racing
The gambling commission this week also launched a market study to determine whether more racetrack licenses can be awarded, and several communities have already submitted applications.
Communities eager to approve those applications must wait about 12 weeks for the study to be completed.
The study, which Innovation Group is conducting, will focus on the current racing market, in particular the racetracks in Adams, Dakota, Douglas, Hall, Lancaster, and Platte Counties.
There will also be an analysis of the positive and negative effects of horse racing, including financial impacts on each existing racetrack at the time of the market analysis if the commission approves new racetrack applications.
Nebraska law requires that the study be completed no later than Jan. 1, 2025.
Other Nebraska Notables
The NRGC says casino-generated tax revenue in Nebraska increased in July. Nebraska’s three casinos, currently open in Grand Island, Lincoln, and Columbus, brought in more than $1.54M in tax revenue in July, which was roughly $200K more than the previous month.
So far this year, Nebraska casinos have generated more than $9.7 million in tax revenue.
The new era of table games and expanded sports wagering is also beginning to impact other forms of legalized gambling. A charitable gambling quarterly report released this week indicated that betting on keno, pickle cards, bingo, and local raffles was down 10.6% from the previous quarter and 2% less than the same three months last year.
Bill Harvey of Big Red Keno said the decrease can be summed up in one word: “casinos.”
Sports wagering is also moving regulators to look at sports betting programs to protect athletes. Preventative measures are being examined to try and avoid gambling scandals that are making headlines.
Jim Brown, the head of Integrity Services & Athlete Wellbeing, North America, at Sportradar, said Colorado is the only state to implement an athlete well-being program for gambling.
“Kudos to Nebraska. You know, to the Racing and Gaming Commission, if they are considering moving forward with a Nebraska athlete well-being program, that they’re being proactive,” Brown said recently.
Online sports wagering isn’t currently legal in Nebraska. Wagers must be placed at a licensed facility, and no bets can be placed on Nebraska teams while playing inside the state.
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