Nebraska sports betting has been legalized through the passage of LB 561 by the state’s unicameral legislature. That bill was recently signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts on June 2. This process goes back to November when voters in the state agreed to a gambling expansion referendum in the 2020 general election
Legal sports betting was not specifically listed in that referendum. However, there has been a consensus among lawmakers that retail sportsbooks at the state’s six horse racing tracks are part of this casino expansion bill.
It could still take some time before Nebraska sports betting will be launched. The regulatory process could drag on for a few more months. A launch late in 2021 is still possible. Yet, early 2022 might be the logical option. LB 561 allows the state’s horse betting tracks to also offer legal sports betting through retail sportsbooks. The final legislation did not contain provisions for legal online sports betting.Jump to
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The state’s six horse racing tracks can also offer Las Vegas-style casino gaming. They would join the existing four tribal casinos in Nebraska that are owned and operated by the Winnebago Tribe and the Omaha Tribe.
DraftKings has been vocal about including Nebraska online sports betting in any final law. However, legal online sports betting was not approved. The only legal sports betting in the state will take place at race tracks with retail sportsbooks.
There are plenty of decisions that still need to be made in Nebraska as far as the regulation of casino gambling and sports betting. The Nebraska Gaming and Racing Commission will oversee the approval process tied to these rules and regulations.
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Nebraska Sports Betting Rules
One of the biggest debates surrounding NE sports betting at this time is what to do with collegiate sporting events. The approved version of LB 561 still prohibits betting on in-state college sports. This was part of an added amendment in the middle of May.
Professional and international betting markets will be available in Nebraska through retail sportsbooks at race tracks.
Nebraska Sports Betting Regulations
In November 2020, Nebraska residents approved a gambling expansion referendum, but that did not specifically include sports betting. Since that point in time, state lawmakers determined that they could encompass legal retail sportsbooks into the casino expansion language.
State legislators created a comprehensive gaming bill in March of this year by merging LB 560 into LB 561. This package also included a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling and legal sports betting at the state’s six commercial horse racing tracks.
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Legal sports betting is coming to Nebraska as a result of last year’s voter referendum and the passage of LB 561 at the end of May. The process for reviewing all the necessary rules and regulations tied to the expansion of casino gambling and retail sportsbooks could delay the launch to later this year or early 2022.
Legal online sports betting in Nebraska could be revisited in future legislative sessions. However, as of now, it is not on the table.