Legal Nebraska sports betting isn’t available yet. Regardless, one lawmaker in the state wants to expand the number of events eligible for Nebraskans to place their first bet.
LB 168 would amend the law in the Cornhusker State to allow for betting on in-state events that the Cornhuskers and other Nebraska universities take part in. Additionally, it would earmark revenue from those bets to support higher education.
What’s the deal with Nebraska sports betting?
Nebraska’s current legal landscape for gambling on sporting events is unique in some ways. First off, online betting remains illegal across Nebraska. The law only allows for betting on sports at licensed “racinos” (horse racing tracks that offer casino gaming) and that only in-person.
So far, neither of the two temporary racinos in action in Nebraska are taking bets on sports. Additionally, the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission is still polishing the regulatory process for such gambling.
Racino operators do have plans to open physical sportsbooks eventually, though, and that’s an inevitability that Nebraska Sen. Eliot Bostar is preparing for with LB 168. The bill would repeal certain provisions of existing gaming law and add new provisions to the same.
How would LB 168 change things for Nebraska?
First off, LB 168 would nullify the ban on betting on collegiate sporting events that take place within Nebraska’s borders. The current law allows people to wager on games that Creighton University, the University of Nebraska, etc. take part in but only if they are happening elsewhere.
That means not only are Cornhusker football home games off-limits but other events like the Men’s College World Series. That event takes place in Omaha each year. Bostar’s bill would make all such events permissible for gambling.
At the same time, such events would still be treated somewhat differently. Instead of revenue from such bets going into the same pot as all other bets, sportsbooks would have to separate such funds.
The bill directs sportsbooks to send that tax revenue to the state for placement in the Nebraska Opportunity Grant Fund. That fund provides financial aid to Nebraska residents who are attending in-state colleges and have yet to earn degrees.
It’s unclear how much support Bostar’s bill has in the unicameral legislature right now. However, this change could make Nebraska’s legal sports betting system far more successful as Cornhusker home football games are the most popular sporting events in the state.