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Status of sports wagering in Nebraska, regulations not quite finished

It's very possible that by the end of 2021 or in the first couple months of 2022, legal sports wagering will start across Nebraska.
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - After the 2021 NFL season kicked off, sports betting ramped up in many states, but not legally in Nebraska just yet. The requirements to get it up and running still aren’t done.

In November of 2020, Nebraskans approved an amendment allowing for games of chance, including sports wagering. That was signed into law by Governor Ricketts in May of 2021.

So, why isn’t it completely legal by now? Nebraska’s Racing and Gaming Commission said the process is taking time.

It’s very possible that by the end of 2021 or in the first couple months of 2022, legal sports wagering will start across Nebraska.

“The people of Nebraska, our voters, some of them are frustrated. I hear that,” said Tom Sage, Executive Director of the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission said. “Bear with us. We’re working on it.”

Before Nebraskans get the full green light on sports betting, the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission said some rules and regulations need to be finalized.

“There’s an extensive background review for anybody that wants an authorized gaming license in Nebraska, as there is in many other states,” Sage told 10/11.

One of the main rules that will be put in place doesn’t allow you to bet using an app on your phone or online. “It has to be done within a brick and mortar casino or specific location approved by the commission,” said Sage.

You also won’t be able to bet on Husker home games. “Later in the season, Nebraska is playing in Iowa. We could then wager on the Huskers,” Sage said.

Lincoln Race Course said they’ve already started planning for what sport wagering will look like at their facility.

“As soon as we’re able to be licensed, we can immediately start redoing this building and making it more conducive for sports betting patrons,” said Lynne McNally, Executive Vice President of Nebraska Horsemen.

Once the ball on sports betting gets rolling, Lincoln Race Course plans on building a full restaurant, a 196-room hotel and a spa on-site.

“All of the entertainment options that you get from sports betting and all of that revenue is going to stay right here in the state,” McNally said.

Commissioners with Nebraska Racing and Gaming tell 10/11 that they’re close to getting the rules and regulations done and say 2022 is looking up. They said they just want to make sure sports wagering is done right across Nebraska.

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