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Preliminary regulations released for future Nebraska casinos

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 10:42 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Casinos at Nebraska horse tracks got one step closer to becoming a reality on Friday.

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission released a 67-page document of regulations that could help bring casinos to six licensed race tracks in Nebraska, including Lincoln.

The regulations were released Friday afternoon with a few that stuck out.

Companies that want to open a casino at a race track in Nebraska will need to fork out $1 million up front for a license that will be good for 20 years.

Nebraska casinos will also be required to be smoke-free, and only law enforcement or licensed security officers will be permitted to carry a firearm.

Nebraska voters approved casino gambling at horse tracks in November of 2020.

A little over a year later, the Racing and Gaming Commission will hold a public hearing of the rules on Dec. 17.

Lynne McNally, executive vice president of Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said she is excited the process has finally gotten started.

“(The regulations are) very comprehensive, they’re heavy on security, integrity, background investigations, all of the things you need to maintain honestly across the industry and I think they’re great,” McNally said.

Companies that want to open a casino will not be the only ones who need to purchase a license.

Those involved with the casinos, like vendors, should expect a licensing fee of up to $5,000 for three years, plus annual fees.

Key operator fees could range from $10,000-$15,000.

If the rules are approved on Dec. 17, they then head to the Governors office for final approval. There is not a timeline on how long that could take.

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