Pari-Mutuel Betting 1934
Charity Gaming (Bingo) 1958
Tribal Casinos 1990
Charity Gaming (Bingo) 18+
Lottery/Pari-Mutuel Betting 19+
Tribal Casinos/Racinos 21+
Tribal Casinos 4
Nebraska has been a conservative gambling state with limited forms of gambling for some time. However, in recent years, pressure has been mounting to expand gambling. This represents both a change in attitude from voters as well as the need to grow state revenue.
Legal forms of gambling in Nebraska presently include lotteries, raffles, punch boards, keno, pickle cards, and pull tabs. The state has four tribal casinos and a lottery. Six existing commercial racetracks will transform into racinos after a Bill to expand gambling was passed late in 2020.
On April 12, 2021, a constitutional amendment to allow sports betting statewide failed to gain traction. However, it may still be possible to enjoy sports betting at the state’s six racetrack casinos, subject to clarification. Fantasy sports contests are currently being studied.
Keno has been around for decades and is a popular game at bars and other establishments in Nebraska. With the opening of casinos expected in 2022, cities have been pushing for the state to permit mobile keno to compete.
The Nebraska Lottery is the state lottery operator, selling scratch tickets and lottery games such as Pick 5, Pick 3, and MyDaY. It is also a constituent of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), allowing Nebraskans to buy Mega Millions and Power Ball tickets.
Tickets can be purchased at participating retailers, including general stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, tobacco stores, etc.
Charitable gaming falls under the responsibility of the Nebraska Department of Revenue. Qualifying non-profit organizations include ambulance, rescue, volunteer first aid, and emergency squad, which may offer several forms of gaming: bingo, keno, charity lotteries & raffles, and pickle cards.
Lottery events where gross proceeds exceed $1,000 or $5,000 in the case of raffles require a license from the Department.
Charities with gross receipts of less than $100,000 require a Class I license, while gross receipts above $100,000 require a Class II license.
Casino Nights are considered illegal since entrants must pay a fee to play. Texas Hold’em tournaments are permitted, provided no fee is charged to enter.
Nebraska has six commercial horse racing tracks, including the Horseman’s Park Race Track, Columbus Racecourse, Lincoln Nebraska State Fair, Aksarben Coliseum, Hastings Exposition & Racing, and the Fonner Park Racecourse. Pari-mutuel racing falls under the Nebraska State Racing Commission, allowing both live and simulcast racing.
In late 2020, a state referendum authorized gambling at state-licensed tracks, transforming the facilities into racetrack casinos in late 2021/2022. Regulations are still being debated.
Presently, there are just 4 Class II tribal casinos in Nebraska divided evenly between the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. There are 3 more in the works expected in 2021/2022 that would operate casinos at racetracks. Players can find 80+ casino gaming machines, including slots and video poker.
|Native Tribal Casinos||Address||Website|
|Iron Horse Bar & Casino||1106 S. Main St. – Emerson, NE 68733||winnebagocasinos.com|
|Lucky 77 Casino||200 Main St, Walthill – NE 68067||N/A|
|Native Star Casino||1501 Industrial Parkway, 77 & 75 Hwy. – Winnebago, NE 68071||nativestarcasinowinnebago.com|
|Ohiya Casino||53142 Hwy 12 – Niobrara, NE 68760||ohiyacasino.com|
|Fonner Park||700 E Stolley Park Rd, Grand Island, NE 68801||fonnerpark.com|
|Lincoln Race Course||7055 S 1st St, Lincoln, NE 68512||lincolnracing.com|
|Horsemen’s Park Horse Track||6303 Q Street – Omaha, NE 68117||horsemenspark.com|
|Columbus Thoroughbred Racing||822 15th St. – Columbus, NE 68601||columbushorseracing.org|
|Ak-Sar-Ben Race Track||3000 Farnam St #3 – Omaha, NE 68131||ak-sar-ben.com|
|Hastings Exposition & Racing||947 S Baltimore Ave, Hastings, NE 68901||N/A|
Gambling in Nebraska was illegal until the Nebraska Constitution was amended to permit pari-mutuel horse racing on licensed racetracks in 1934. Simulcast horse racing would be added in 1988. In November 2020, Nebraska voters approved Initiative 429 to allow gambling at licensed racetracks that would be authorized and regulated under Initiative 430. This also raised the gambling age on devices and racetracks to 21.
The Constitution was amended again in 1958 to allow non-profit organizations to run bingo events. Charitable lotteries, raffles, and gift enterprises were added through another Constitutional amendment in 1967.
In Nebraska, a state lottery was approved in November 1992 after support by Nebraska voters to amend the Constitution. A year later, the Nebraska Lottery was born by the passing of LB 138 in the legislature.
Bill 469, introduced in January 2017 by State Sen Tyson Larson, would legislate daily fantasy sports but was delayed after not having sufficient backing. He submitted a new proposal, LB137, in January 2019. Fantasy sports has been polarizing, with one side claiming it is a game of chance and the other a game of skill. Proposals require operators to register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue and prohibit fantasy contests based on college or high school statistics.
Keno, popular in Nebraska for decades, may see an amendment (LB561 introduced March 2021). This would allow it to be purchased at a licensed lottery operator.
Keno is a popular form of gambling in Nebraska and is often found at bars and other establishments. The state has legalized charity gaming, a state lottery, and pari-mutuel betting. Racetrack casinos are expected in the second half of 2021 and will join tribal casinos in offering casino gambling.
An expanded gambling Bill is awaiting clarification and may allow sports betting at the state’s racetrack casinos. However, statewide sports betting falls outside the scope of the Bill.
No, at present, fantasy sports contests are being studied with no clear indication of the conclusions.
Nebraska currently has four Class II tribal casinos and no commercial casinos. The state’s six racetracks will begin to offer casino gambling played in 2021/2022.