Wayne Anderson, Fonner Park's assistant race track secretary, has dedicated his career to horse racing: "This is my 48th year at the race track." And he believes that, as in other states, "historic race betting" is a surefire winner for Nebraska.
Wayne Anderson: "It's been proven at Hot Springs, and now it's in Kentucky. Hot Springs was struggling, and they raised their purses three times this year alone."
At Fonner Park, attendence for live racing is strong. If the bill passes, proceeds from historic race bets will be used in part to offer bigger purses for winners. Anderson says bigger purses will draw more bets, more fans, ...more dollars: "They can say what they want -- it's a jobs bill, is what it is. I mean, it impacts so many jobs."
Betting on "historic horse racing" offers a strong promise of increased income for tracks, and jobs for track communities, but it is opposed by family groups, and by other gambling interests who fear the loss of income.
Nebraska Family Council's Al Riskowski opposes historic race betting: "It's a farce to believe this is really going to help the live horse industry. I believe, in the end, because it's an attendance problem, unless you can change the attendance, you're going to see live horse racing go away whether you establish these machines or not, and in the end all we'll have are instant racing terminals, and live horse racing will go away anyway."
Anderson says that is not the case, and that the new betting machines will allow patrons to wager during the lengthy breaks between races.
Mary Brock came to Fonner Park with her family, and she says the new machines are a must.
Mary Brock: "We've lost a lot of our old-timers, but this is one thing to keep everyone going. Nebraska needs racing."