Last updated on February 10th, 2024 at 08:38 am
A group of the nation’s top online sports gambling firms and Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic development department of the Winnebago Tribe, want to legalize online sports betting in Nebraska. The coalition also comprises DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, and FanDuel.
The group wants to survey Nebraskans’ interest in allowing online sports betting via a constitutional amendment. Ho-Chunk confirmed they are participating in the poll, which started Monday and will end this week. Also, they want to be an online bookie company in the state.
At this time, Nebraskans can only wager on sporting events at Grand Island Casino Resort, Lincoln’s WarHorse operations, and Omaha’s Grand Island Casino, all of which provide sports betting. If this week’s poll results indicate support for a change, the gaming industry is considering a move to modify the law and put it on the November ballot.
Lance Morgan, Ho-Chunk CEO, wants to avoid an expensive petition drive to put the issue before voters in November. Also, he hopes state lawmakers will pass a resolution to put the amendment to vote.
To discuss the subject this year, the conservative-dominated Legislature would have to suspend its own rules, which is highly unlikely given that the time for members to present new legislation this year has already passed.
According to 9DollarPerHead.com sources, online sports betting is likelier to be on the ballot in November if a petition effort is launched. The sponsors must collect around 122,000 valid signatures by July 2024 to include the issue in the general election ballot 2024. This number includes 5% of registered voters in at least 38 counties. Costs would be high along that path.
A previous petition push that spanned the state employed hired circulators and cost at least $1 million. Additionally, both pro- and anti-gambling groups spent over $7 million on ads, attorneys, and petition circulators in Nebraska’s successful 2020 effort to legalize casino gambling.
Even in a state that has repeatedly voted down the idea of legalizing casino sports betting, plenty will oppose any petition to legalize gambling at the state’s six licensed horse racetracks in 2020.
The push for online sports betting in Nebraska has continued for several years. However, they failed to pass a bill in time for this year’s Super Bowl. Maybe lawmakers can do it before the start of the next football season. When it does, bookies can prepare for it with a guide to running an NFL survival pool.