Could residents of Nebraska get a chance to share their opinions on casino games and slot machines this November? If local groups have their way that is exactly what will happen on the November ballot, as they work to include a question regarding legalized casino games and slot machines.
Right now, it’s a matter of collecting enough signatures in order to get the question on the ballot. This grassroots effort has ramped up even more as the deadline to achieve their mission is approaching. Additionally, there’s a great deal of opposition standing in the way of expanded gambling in the state.
Political Committee Gathering Signatures
The group Keep the Money in Nebraska is a political committee who has taken up the cause of getting enough signatures to ensure voters are asked the question of whether or not they approve of legalized casino games and slot machines this November.
Currently, there are three separate petitions that are being worked on with each one making the move to put gambling expansion measures on the November ballot.
Mike Newlin, CEO of Omaha Exposition and Racing and General Manager of Horsemen’s Park, represents the growing sentiment that Nebraska needs to embrace this lucrative industry and to keep the money being spent across the borders by residents.
Newlin believes that residents spend over a half billion dollars each year on gambling out of state at casinos in Iowa. That means Iowa is getting the spoils of a much needed tax revenue, not Nebraska. This is becoming an anxious, time sensitive point of contention for gambling proponents within the state.
What Would the Tax Revenue Look Like?
According to Newlin, there would be a 20% tax rate on this proposed expanded gaming with 70% of that tax going to the property tax relief fund. In terms of how much legalized Nebraska casino gambling could bring in, Newlin estimates between $65 to $85 million dollars in tax revenue each year.
Unfortunately, not everyone is on-board with this idea as they don’t see gambling as a cash cow, but rather they see it as a destructive force. Pat Loontjer, Executive Director of the anti-gambling group Don’t Gamble with the Good Life, doesn’t believe that Nebraska needs gambling in the state.
Loontjer, and others who share his opinion, feel that Nebraska has done well without casinos and believes that this move would only “open the door” to significant issues down the line and increasing problems for residents:
“It would bring full blown casinos to Nebraska. Ninety percent of a casinos revenue is slot machines, that is the most addictive product. It’s called the crack cocaine of gambling, that’s what a slot machine is. It’s very addictive and in this day and age when people are struggling with the virus, and with the economy, the last thing we need is some other form that’s going to take money out of the state or out of the pockets of the families.”
Where Things Stand at the Moment
The petitions need to be submitted no later than July 2nd and they will need at least 130,000 signatures in order to appear on the ballot. To top it off, there are an extra 85,000 signatures that would also be needed for both of the state statues.
Even if voters approve expanded gaming this November, it would be another year before residents see any casinos operating these new gambling activities.
In other words, Nebraska is far behind most of the country when it comes to gambling and sports betting. It’s going to be an uphill battle for expanding gambling in this state and one that doesn’t sound promising at the moment.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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