Online Gambling Laws for Nebraska

Nebraska Gambling lawsNebraska restricts commercial casinos, and racinos, however, is home to 3 Tribal Casinos.  Recent attempts to approve commercial casinos have not yet been successful.

Currently, Nebraska’s main forms of gaming include the State Lottery, Daily Fantasy Sports and video-bingo-and-keno type machines (similar-to-slots), found throughout the state’s bars, nightclubs, and racetracks.

Nebraska’s gambling market has remained unchanged for a number of years due to little support for change.  The state’s legal standing on online gambling, sports betting laws and betting on sports etc. is outlined below

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy-Sports (DFS) N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes (For prizes only, not real money) No
Horse-Racing Yes No
Lottery Yes No
Charitable-Gambling Yes No

Nebraska Gambling Tax Rate

Nebraska has a 5% state tax on gambling winnings.

Large wins attract Federal taxes.

Nebraska Gambling Age

Gambling Type Age
Casinos 21
DFS 18
Horse-Racing 18
Lottery 19
Charitable-Gambling 18

Nebraska Sports Betting Laws

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the spring of 2018 (when the State of New Jersey (NJ) won its case to overturn a nationwide ban since 1991 on sports betting effectively altering NJ gambling laws overnight), there are still no plans to introduce legal sports betting. Nebraska does not permit sports betting currently and there is no pending legislation to alter the current stance.

Sports Betting in Nebraska

Nebraska’s State Legislators have surprisingly shown little desire to legalize sports betting in the wake of the recent winds of change blowing through US Sports Betting Laws. No bills have ever been introduced and State Governor Pete Ricketts recently reaffirmed the position;

“Sports betting is illegal in Nebraska and we have no plans to change that”, Governor Ricketts said. “For every dollar in tax revenue, you spend three in social services to combat the effects of gambling” he continued.

Currently then, Nebraska has almost no online betting options beyond DFS, not even online horse or greyhound racing. (For a full run down on attempts on fully legalizing DFS in Nebraska please see section below; “Nebraska’s Daily Fantasy Sports Laws”).

Things rarely change with little warning without a change of government, however, there is no reason to believe change in Nebraska’s sports betting legalization position is currently imminent.

Online Sports Betting in Nebraska

In Nebraska, online sports betting is not specifically deemed illegal. However, Nebraska gaming laws do not specifically need to determine a position on sports betting online, as anything not covered off under laws as legal in Nebraska’s Gambling Laws is automatically considered to be illegal.

For example, concerning horse racing gambling in Nebraska, while the state permits tracks to offer race books, this does not carry over to simulcast betting sites, nor are horse racing betting sites licensed in the state of Nebraska.

Daily fantasy sports sites do operate in Nebraska however, the games are not yet expressly legal. The DFS companies claim that they are permitted because the activity is a game of skill. Nebraska’s state attorney general has not released an opinion that contradicts those claims. Meanwhile, online players can play really money DFS competitions in the state without running afoul of Nebraska’s state laws.

Casinos in Nebraska

Nebraska offers 3 Tribal Casinos and a number of restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol, as well as convenience stores are allowed to operate keno drawings. This is as close as the state’s residents will get to having commercial casinos within the state borders of Nebraska until legislation in the statutes of the Nebraska State Legislature approves commercial casino gambling.

Nebraska’s Land-Based Casinos

Nebraska’s land-based casino industry is limited to 3 tribal casinos, operating under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Tribal casinos are allowed to offer limited gaming options like slot machines, keno, bingo, and live keno.

The slots deliver random results like any other slots. Unlike the Vegas-style slots (which determine results through a random number generator), Nebraska’s slots results are however, based on bingo cards.

Nebraska’s lawmakers continue to push for commercial gaming, believing that a state operated casino industry could potentially generate over $100 million per year in tax revenue. However, no legalization attempts have ever managed to pass the Nebraska State Legislature.

Online Casinos in Nebraska

As mentioned above, Nebraska is not required to specifically prohibit online casino play as any form of gambling remaining unlicensed and unregulated is automatically considered illegal in Nebraska.

We accordingly advise all Nebraska’s online players to meanwhile stick to DFS real money online betting options ONLY (not illegal in Nebraska) and to keep clear from playing ANY online casinos (either off-shore or U.S.-based online casinos) until legalization of online casinos takes place in Nebraska.

Horse Racing Betting in Nebraska

Horse Racing Betting in Nebraska is administered by the Nebraska State Racing Commission and they are responsible for approving racing events, animal welfare, simulcasting and licensing of the state racetracks.

Track Side: Nebraska is home to six racetracks and races are usually held throughout summer months, totaling just a few days of racing each year. The rest of the year’s betting activity at the state’s racetracks is dedicated to the simulcasting of live events hosted at other U.S. tracks and international locations.

Off-Track Betting (OTB): OTB betting is not permitted in the state of Nebraska.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in Nebraska: Online Horse Racing Betting is not permitted in the state of Nebraska.

Nebraska’s Daily Fantasy Sports Law

As it is widely considered to be a contest of skill and unrelated to regular casino games of random chance, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) betting has long been exempt from US federal legislation.

The most conservative states have disallowed fantasy sports, however, in 2017, the state of Nebraska attempted to legislate to formally legalize and regulate fantasy sports with bill LB469 by amending existing law to ensure DFS games are not classified as illegal gambling in Nebraska.

The bill was filibustered in both 2017 and 2018 which only goes to show that Nebraska’s State Legislature has little taste for change in regulating DFS. The unsuccessful Nebraskan Fantasy Contests Act LB469 required all fantasy site operators to pay a registration and renewal fees, to adhere to a regulations and guidelines such as;

 

  • preventing employees of DFS sites from participating,
  • prohibiting the participation of athletes or other sporting officials who participate in events upon which DFS contests are based,
  • prohibiting anyone under 19 from playing; and
  • segregating players’ funds from operating funds.

These guidelines are already standard in many states where DFS is considered legal, however, Nebraska’s lawmakers remain steadfastly defiant of giving DFS the full legalization green light.

Meanwhile, however, all DFS sites can legally accept players from Nebraska and online players from the Cornhusker State are free to legally participate in DFS until the legalization question has been fully resolved by the State House.

What are DFS and how are they played?

 Every day across the United States, tens of millions of DFS players nationwide select real-life athletes to form a fantasy team and collect points based on the athlete’s real-life performances across all the major leagues (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAA, MMA and even PGA Golf) to win huge million-dollar prizes.

The goal in each DFS contest is to draft a team from players around the league and score more points than anyone else competing in the same contest. As your players rack up stats in the real world, your fantasy teams collate points in the fantasy league.

DFS competitions can be and usually are determined over a stand-alone set of games, which typically range from a single-day to an entire weekend of matches. Longer duration fantasy league competitions also exist whereby DFS participants select players and compete over the course of an entire sports league season.

The DFS team that collects the most points, wins their DFS league. Winners of any category of DFS competition (be it a daily, weekly, regular season or a stand-alone playoff ‘league’ or competition), can potentially earn up to $1 million per competition, per major league.

Prize monies are accumulated from the money earnt from the millions of player’s minimal entry fee of just few dollars for each competition.

 Poker Laws in Nebraska

In Nebraska, Poker games and tournaments that are free to enter and not award prizes are legal as they are not considered to be a form of gambling. However, any form of poker game that involves stakes money is considered illegal.

The game of Poker was once so popular in Nebraska in the 1800’s, that one of most favorite forms of poker, (Omaha) was named after that city in Nebraska. Those days are now long gone and poker is now strictly prohibited.

Online Poker Laws in Nebraska

Online Poker is strictly prohibited in Nebraska. Please see the above sections ‘Online Sports Betting in Nebraska’ and ‘Online Casinos in Nebraska’ for full details.

Nebraska eSports Betting

When sports betting becomes an accepted and legalized form of gambling in Nebraska, expect that eSports (widely known as ‘competitive gaming’) will lead the way in for a young generation of Millennial gamblers to become involved with a contemporary form of sports betting that is unashamedly pitched at a young, technologically aware, and technology-literate population.

‘eSports’ – the fastest growing form of sports betting worldwide

eSports (‘competitive gaming’ in the most popular multi-player online video games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty, CS:GO and others) is the fastest growing genre of sports entertainment in the modern world.

The sport has evolved from the one-time underground LAN gaming community to become a mainstream sport. Players worldwide compete in eSports tournaments that are offering prize money in the millions. The enormous growth in the sport has coincided directly with the development in live video streaming technology.

Betting interest in eSports is subject to huge monthly increases and international sportsbooks offer odds on all the big global eSports tournaments, and big money is won and lost on a daily basis.

As soon as there is a legalized sportsbook in Nebraska, expect eSports betting markets to be among the first legal betting lines in the frame.

Legalized Gambling’s Potential Benefits to Nebraska

  • It is estimated that legalized sports betting in Nebraska could potentially generate almost $1 billion in revenue and services per year in Nebraska, and $47 million of additional annual tax revenue based on 2017 figures. This would more than double Nebraska’s current tax revenue from gambling of $38 million per annum.
  • Nebraska’s Tribal Casino industry has created hundreds of jobs for First Nations people living on Tribal lands. Further gambling legalization extensions could continue to improve on the living standards and economic prosperity of Native American people in Nebraska.
  • Many Nebraskan charities have been looking to the neighboring Iowa model of fund raising through gambling to assist in generating much needed funding for many of Nebraska’s charities such as treating problem gaming, educational scholarships for its needy citizens, subsidizing daycare programs and veteran’s welfare assistance programs.
  • Regardless of legalization or not, Nebraskans will gamble and a regulated and licensed legal gambling industry will provide greater player protection and security.
  • Recourses and protections from unscrupulous and illegal gambling operators could be enshrined under Nebraskan law through gambling legalization.
  • Illegal gambling operations will cease to flourish in Nebraska by ruling on full legalization of the state’s betting industry.

History of Gambling in Nebraska

1934; Horse Racing Betting legalized in Nebraska by amending the State Constitution.

1958; Charitable Bingo legalized in Nebraska.

1967; Raffles, gifts and lotteries first legalized for charitable purposes.

1988; Legalization of Simulcast Horse Race Betting in Nebraska.

1993; State Lottery begins in Nebraska with ‘scratch-off card’ method.

Early 2000’s; First Tribal Casinos open across Nebraska.

2004-2016; Repeated attempts to legalize Casino Gambling in Nebraska blocked.

2017 & 2018; DFS legalization bill LB469 twice blocked by filibuster in the Nebraska State Legislature.



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