Nebraska may dominate Iowa in the ways of college football, but when it comes to their gambling money, Iowa is happy to take it and run.
That all may change if a group of Nebraska senators get their way. This group, led by Senator Paul Schumacher, is introducing a bill that could allow gambling in the great state of Nebraska if approved by voters this November. Rather than push away Iowa gaming lobbyists, this “fun bill”, as described by Senator Schumacher, would prohibit any casinos within 60 miles of a bordering state that had an agreement to share some of its gambling revenue with Nebraska.
Sen. Schumacher sees gambling income as a clear source of revenue for the state, and one that could generate up to $120 million a year without a raise in taxes.
The State currently only allows betting on horse racing, the state lottery, and keno.
To opponents who feel that the social costs of gambling outweigh the financial benefits, Senator Schumacher argues that almost 90% of the Nebraska population resides within 2 hours of a casino. This means that any social cost of gambling is already occurring without any of the financial rewards.
Getting the bill to grip this year, however, will be a bit of a gamble in itself. “It’s probably going to be a very difficult sell during the short session,” Schumacher said.
This adds Nebraska to the long list of states considering jumping aboard the increased gambling train.