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Nebraska Casino and Card Room Gaming

In 2004, Nebraskans voted down two casino proposals. The state legislature's proposal would have allowed two casinos in Nebraska. The other would have legalized two casinos in Omaha, as well as an additional 4,900 video poker and slot machines at locations across Nebraska. The ballot proposals could have cost Iowa's casino industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Iowa's biggest gambling market is in Council Bluffs, where the Ameristar and Harrah's riverboats and Bluffs Run Casino and Greyhound Park draw about 8 million customers annually. It is estimated two-thirds of the money wagered comes from Nebraskan gamblers.

In July 2006, Boyd Gaming, three Nebraska tribes, and keno operators wanting to expand gambling in Nebraska raised more than $1.2 million for the signature-gathering effort needed to get a petition on the November ballot. Secretary of State John Gale, however, announced that a measure asking voters to approve casino gambling would not be allowed on the ballot because it violated the state constitution's limit on submitting similar ballot proposals more than once every three years.

In January 2009, a bill was introduced by Sen. Russ Karpisek that would have allowed a 2010 public vote to amend Nebraska's constitution to allow up to 3,500 slot machines at the state's horse tracks. In March 2009, the bill failed to pass the Nebraska Legislature.

In January 2010, the General Affairs Committee voted to move forward with LR277CA, a constitutional amendment that would expand pari-mutuel gaming by legalizing offtrack betting. A similar proposal that was introduced a year earlier, but included slot machines, had been defeated. This new measure would authorize betting on horse races in satellite facilities such as sports bars, which would have televisions and betting terminals to view races and place wagers. The facilities would have to be approved by the local municipality, but would be operated by Nebraska racetracks. The offtrack betting proposal needed to pass three more Legislature votes to make it onto the November ballot, and then have voter approval to be enacted. However, it was indefinitely postponed in April 2010.

In January 2013, LB1067 was introduced, reducing the time interval between keno games from five to three minutes, only if approved by the local municipality. This change, which would have allowed more keno games to be played in the same period, was defeated through pressure brought by anti-gambling factions.

In February 2013, Sen. Schumacher introduced LR34CA, a proposal authorizing future legislatures to permit and regulate games of chance. Legislators estimated that $300 million to $400 million in tax revenue was going to bordering states that allow gambling. The constitutional amendment proposal intended to place the question before voters in the November 2014 general election, but the legislature rejected the bill before the vote.

Sen. Schumacher then introduced LR10CA, which would have lowered the bar for the state to be able to expand gambling. Instead of having to get a measure on the ballot and then conduct a statewide campaign, gambling proponents would only have had to convince 33 senators. The Senate voted 27-16 to kill the legislation in March 2015.

On December 23, 2011, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that state regulators could not ban Bank Shot, a barroom video game that offered cash payouts. The ruling was a victory for the Omaha-based companies that built and distributed Bank Shot after more than two years of legal wrangling with the state. The Nebraska Attorney General's Office argued that the Bank Shot video games were illegal under state law, since outcomes were determined by chance. Bank Shot owners sued the state after police officials began confiscating their games. When a County District Judge ruled that one of the three modes in which the game could be played was legal, because the outcome depended more on skill than chance, American Distributing Co. reprogrammed the software to bring the game into compliance. The Supreme Court ruled that with the modifications implemented the video game was primarily a game of skill, not chance, and therefore could not be banned. There are approximately 400 Bank Shot game locations in 137 different Nebraska cities. Bank Shot offers jackpots as high as $17,000.

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission aprroved the first commercial casino license in September 2022 and the WarHorse casino opened its doors in October 2022.

Nebraska Casino and Card Room Gaming Properties

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