Nebraska Gambling Sites - Laws, Regulations and Guide
Mainly known for its agriculture, Nebraska has never embraced gambling. Case in point: they don't allow commercial casinos, racinos or poker rooms.
Proposals have been floated to legalize brick and mortar casinos, but nothing has happened so far. This means that the Cornhusker State's gaming scene revolves around Class II gaming (explained later) found in bars and restaurants.
Given Nebraska's stance on commercial casinos, it's no surprise that they don't have a regulated online gaming market.
On the other hand, they haven't taken a harsh stance against internet gaming, and this gives state residents an opportunity to play at offshore gaming sites.
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Online Gambling and Nebraska Law
If you want to play online casino games in Nebraska, you won't have a problem doing so. They've yet to propose any serious ban on the activity.
But does this mean that it's completely legal to engage in online gaming here?
This matter is best understood by looking at some of Nebraska's gambling laws. That said, let's answer important questions surrounding the legality of iGaming.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Nebraska?
Nebraska's constitution fails to address online gaming, therefore we believe that it's a grey area.
They have no section declaring the activity to be legal or illegal which means that you'll have no trouble playing at offshore casinos, poker and sports betting sites here.
But one mildly troubling aspect we see in Nebraska's constitution is section 28-1101 (5), which mentions a "computer gaming device."
Here's a look:
"Gambling device shall also include any mechanical gaming device, computer gaming device, electronic gaming device, or video gaming device which has the capability of awarding something of value, free games redeemable for something of value, instant-win tickets which also provide the possibility of participating in a subsequent drawing or event, or tickets or stubs redeemable for something of value, except as authorized in the furtherance of pari-mutuel wagering."
If politicians really wanted to harass online gamblers, they could based on the phrases "computer gaming device" and "electronic gaming device." After all, these terms cover smartphones and tablets.
But what gives us confidence that they won't is that Nebraska has yet to arrest and prosecute anybody for internet gaming.
What's more notable is the fact that their criminal code doesn't include any language aimed at online gaming operators. This shows us that they're not actively concerned about iGaming.
Can I Get Arrested in Nebraska for Gambling Online?
Anything is possible. But based on what we just covered, no, you won't be arrested strictly for online gaming.
The only way we can see this happening is if you make it a public point that you're gambling online in Nebraska. As long as this isn't the case, your odds of being arrested are non-existent.
We've yet to see a state that puts manpower and resources into catching online gamers. And given Nebraska's general tolerance towards the activity, we don't see them becoming the first to do so.
What Online Gaming Options do I Have in Nebraska?
A wide range of online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting sites serve Nebraskans. In fact, we've never seen a gaming site that serves Americans - only to exclude the Cornhusker State from the mix.
A simple Google search will bring up dozens of sites that serve this state. From here, the only matter is choosing the best site(s), which we'll discuss below.
How do I Choose an Offshore Gaming Site?
You should consider the following factors when looking for a quality online casino, poker site or sportsbook:
- What are Customers Saying?
- Bonuses & Loyalty Rewards
- Game Selection
- Customer Service
You certainly don't want to choose a gaming site that's slow to process cash outs and/or has bad customer service. Read reviews and see what kind of reputability a site offers.
Some review sites feature customer complaints which gives you a good idea what a certain gaming site struggles with. If you repeatedly see that a company takes months to process withdrawals, then you know to steer clear.
Big bonuses and frequent loyalty rewards give you a boost in gaming. You want to be sure that your site is competitive with other companies in this regard.
The reason why we all play at online gaming sites in the first place is for the games. That said, be sure that your casino has a lot of games to choose from. Likewise, it's great if your sportsbook covers a wide range of sport and lines.
You don't want to be brushed off when you have a question about bonuses, promotions, banking, etc. It pays to choose sites that offer solid customer support.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Nebraska?
At the time of this writing, State Senator, Tyson Larson has introduced Senate Bill 469, which would legalize daily fantasy sports.
This legislation is being supported by industry leading sites DraftKings and FanDuel. Both companies claim that Nebraska has over 300,000 DFS players, which is significant for their population of 1.896 million.
It's unclear what kind of chance SB 469 has. After all, Larson's 2016 DFS legislation failed to garner enough votes.
But with operators paying taxes and annual fees to the Nebraska Department of Revenue, the framework sounds promising.
Considering that the state doesn't draw much gaming revenue from other avenues, DFS can help line state coffers. We may still be a few years away from legal DFS, though, considering the fact that Nebraska isn't very progressive in regards to gaming.
Breaking down what exactly is or isn't legal in Nebraska. Gambling Venues in Nebraska
Where to gamble in the state of Nebraska. The History of Gaming Laws in Nebraska
A brief history of Nebraska laws regarding gambling. Nebraska Gambling FAQs
A list of questions asked about gambling in Nebraska Additional Information
Still have questions? Check out these links. The Future of Gambling in Nebraska
What does the future of gambling look like in Nebraska?
More Gambling Laws in Nebraska
Nebraska's constitution deems gambling to be anything where people wager on a future outcome, but they do make several exceptions for charity gaming.
Here's a look at how they define gambling in section 28-1101 (4):
"A person engages in gambling if he or she bets something of value upon the outcome of a future event, which outcome is determined by an element of chance, or upon the outcome of a game, contest, or election, or conducts or participates in any bingo, lottery by the sale of pickle cards, lottery, raffle, gift enterprise, or other scheme not authorized or conducted in accordance with the Nebraska Bingo Act, the Nebraska County and City Lottery Act, the Nebraska Lottery and Raffle Act, the Nebraska Pickle Card Lottery Act, the Nebraska Small Lottery and Raffle Act, the State Lottery Act, or section 9-701."
The Bingo, Lottery, Raffle and Pickle Card Acts ensure that the state offers some legal forms of gaming.
This is important because much of Nebraska's gaming industry centers on charity establishments and Class II games.
Class II refers to any game of chance that operates like bingo. This can include slot machines and video poker, as long as results are determined through a virtual bingo drawing.
Below, you can take a closer look at each individual sector of Nebraska's land-based gaming industry.
Casino Games: Illegal
As mentioned before, the Cornhusker State doesn't have commercial casinos. They do have tribal casinos, though, which include the following:
- Iron Horse Bar & Casino
- Lucky 77
- Native Star Casino
- Ohiya Casino
These casinos are all approved for Class II games under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988. You'll find bingo, live keno, slot machines and video poker spread throughout these casinos.
Various politicians have pushed for commercial casinos over the past decade. If they were to allow this, they'd likely have to renegotiate with tribal casinos, and allow them to offer Class III (Vegas-style) gaming.
Considering that Nebraska isn't a big gambling state, none of this will happen any time soon.
Charity Gaming: Legal
The state's biggest gambling source comes through the bars and restaurants with charity operations.
Businesses with liquor licenses can apply to host charity gambling, including bingo, keno, lotteries, pickle cards and raffles.
Running since 1992, the Nebraska Lottery sells tickets for various games, including 2by2, Mega Millions, MyDay, Pick3, Pick5 and Powerball.
Lottery players must be 19 to purchase tickets in Nebraska.
Nebraska is the birthplace of Omaha, one of the most-popular poker variations available. Despite this fact, the game is frowned upon in the Cornhusker State.
No poker rooms are featured in the state, but businesses can hold free-entry tournaments.
Obviously, the lack of entry fees and prize pools are a turnoff for serious poker players, but at least it's better than nothing.
Legalized in 1934, pari-mutuel betting is still legal in Nebraska today. They feature four tracks, including AgPark, Fonner Park Casino, Horseman's Park and Lincoln Race Track.
Social Gaming: Legal
The state's constitution doesn't mention anything about social gaming.
Considering that Nebraska takes the middle road regarding most gambling matters, you should be fine to host social gaming functions here as long as the host doesn't collect any rake or house fees.
Provided nothing else illegal is going on at the games and you keep them under wraps, you'll have no trouble hosting a poker game in Nebraska.
Gambling Venues in Nebraska
The Cornhusker State is far from a gambler's paradise. In fact, you'll only find 20 places to gamble throughout the state between the tribal casinos and charity venues.
Tribal casinos don't pay taxes to Nebraska, and their revenue isn't public knowledge. But we assume that they don't make a lot in comparison to other states' tribal operations.
The largest gaming establishment is Ohiya Casino & Resort, which has 410 machines. This means that Nebraska's biggest casino is merely average by most standards.
The rest of Nebraska's gaming venues consist of small charity casinos. You won't find much serious gaming going on at these places, but they give you a spot to enjoy a drink/meal and a few slots.
Below, you can see all 4 tribal casinos along with a handful of charity establishments.
1. Backaracks Bar and Grill (Charity)
1402 E 20th St, Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Hastings Keno Bar and Grill (Charity)
1216 W J St, Hastings, NE 68901
HopHouse Bar and Grill (Charity)
11425 S 72nd St, Papillion, NE 68046
Iron Horse Bar & Casino (Tribal)
1106 Main St, Emerson, NE 68733
Jersey's Sports Bar and Grill (Charity)
501 Olson Dr, Papillion, NE 68046
Lucky 77 Casino (Tribal)
200 Main St, Walthill, NE 68067
Lucky Keno Parlor (Charity)
1001 Ave I, Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Native Star Casino (Tribal)
1501 Industrial Parkway, 77& 75 Hwy, Winnebago, NE 68071
Ohiya Casino & Resort
52946 NE-12, Niobrara, NE 68760
Ralston Keno (Charity)
5130 S 72nd St, Ralston, NE 68127
Winners Lounge and Keno
5413 S 72nd St, Omaha, NE 68127
History of Gambling in Nebraska
Nebraska's early gambling history is shaped by Omaha, which was America's largest per-capita gambling town in the mid-1800s. Besides gambling, Omaha was also known for alcohol, drugs and prostitution.
By 1887, the Nebraska State Legislature was fed up with the city's gambling problem, and banned the activity statewide.
This forced Omaha's gambling underground, where it would eventually be run by the Italian mafia. By the 1980s, Iowa's nearby gambling market and police crackdowns began to erode Omaha's underground scene.
Since this time, Nebraska has seen more and more legal gaming options pop up across the state.
Omaha is the biggest per-capita gambling town in the US.
Legislatre legalizes charity bingo
Nebraska voters approve state lottery.
Voters turn down commercial casinos.
Commercial casino bill narrowly misses making a ballot.
State consitution amended to include legal pari-mutuel horse racing.
Charity lotteries and raffles legalized.
Simulcast horse racing approved.
Politicians campaign for commercial casinos.
Daily fantasy sports legislation (SB 469) introduced.
Nebraska Gambling FAQ
The good thing about Nebraska's gambling laws is that they're straightforward and leave little to interpretation. Nevertheless, their criminal code does have a few holes regarding iGaming.
Let's cover some important questions that players may have regarding this state's online gaming market.
Most offshore casinos and sportsbooks are in Caribbean and Central American locations. Furthermore, they hold licenses with jurisdictions, such as Antigua & Barbuda, Costa Rica, Curacao or Panama.
This doesn't technically make these companies legal in Nebraska, but the key is that they're not located in the U.S., and they don't necessarily target Nebraska or any other American states. Anybody can access these sites, provided they're not blocked for some reason. Unless a state specifically bans offshore operators, you can expect them to operate. Because Nebraska doesn't fall into this category, you'll find offshore casinos here.
Yes. Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey and Washington all have language in their constitutions that ban unlicensed gaming operators.
Other states like Maryland and Kentucky have taken legal action against internet gaming operators.
Many offshore sites avoid these states due to their laws and/or legal history.
Few states have outlined a clear stance towards internet gaming. Nebraska falls into this category because they haven't regulated iGaming, nor have they made an effort to ban it.
This begs the question whether they'll take either action in the near future.
Based on everything we've seen, Nebraska isn't at the forefront of creating an online gaming market, and we've yet to hear anything about them banning the activity either. So, odds are that Nebraska won't make any bold move until a number of other states have taken action.
Yes, in most cases you can trust offshore operators. After all, these sites need to be reputable if they want to attract and keep customers.
Of course, the only way to make sure that you're dealing with a reputable casino is by reading reviews and seeing what other sites/customers have to say.
The overall goal is to make sure that you choose an offshore gaming site that has good customer service, processes withdrawals in a timely manner and offers fair gaming.
This state has two main agencies that regulate their gaming industry, including the Nebraska Gaming Commission and Charitable Gaming Division. Here's a look at where you can find these sites and what's featured at each:
Nebraska Gaming Commission - The NGC regulates the lottery and machine-based gaming. Their website covers a number of topics, including FAQs, legal questions and tax forms. The latter is especially helpful, because most gaming agencies don't touch on tax information.
The Charitable Gaming Division covers bingo, keno, raffles, pull-tabs and anything else dealing with charity gambling. Their website offers helpful info on how to apply for licensing and what the rules are for approved charities.
The Future & Your Views
The only areas where Nebraska is progressing in terms of gambling includes commercial casinos and daily fantasy sports.
Casinos have been getting a big push in recent years as politicians look for ways to keep gambling dollars in-state.
DFS bills have been proposed two years in a row, showing that there's some interest in the activity.
Unfortunately, online gaming isn't getting the same push as DFS and casinos. This makes sense because Nebraska has a small population and doesn't stand to make much for iGaming.
Nevertheless, it's always nice to have a regulated gaming market and clearly defined rules. This way, players can gamble at licensed sites and not have to worry about the small chance of dealing with nefarious offshore sites.
But until Nebraska decides to make a move with their online gaming market, offshore operators remain your best option.
If you follow the steps we covered above, you have a good chance of finding quality online casinos, poker sites and/or sportsbooks. Given that Nebraska has no history of harassing online gamblers, you are safe to play with confidence.