Nebraska Casinos and Gambling
Nebraska is called the “Cornhusker State,” and it’s known for its expansive prairies, historic trails, and agricultural production. Unfortunately, the overall sparse population of the state provides limited opportunities for gamblers, as casinos and racetracks are spread out and relatively modest.
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Nebraska Indian Casinos
Commercial casinos are illegal in the state of Nebraska, but tribal gaming does exist. It’s nothing to get excited about, however, as locations offer nothing more than Class II slot machines. If you’re a local looking for something to do or a tourist craving a little gaming action, here are a few of the facilities you can choose from:
• Iron Horse Bar & Casino
• Ohiya Casino & Resort
• Native Star Casino
• Lucky 77 Casino
Gambling Laws in Nebraska
According to state law, “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, and the State Lottery Act.”
The following are some of the gambling violations present in the state:
• Promoting Gambling – This first degree version of the crime involves accepting more than $1,000 in wagers in a single day. The first offense is a Class I misdemeanor, while the second is a Class IV felony. The third and any subsequent offenses are a Class III felony.
• Possession of Gambling Records – The first degree version of this crime is a Class II misdemeanor, and it centers on possession of documents used for illegal lotteries or bookmaking schemes.
• Gambling Debt Collection – Using force or intimidation to collect a gambling debt is a Class III felony.
• Possession of a Gambling Device – This offense is a Class II misdemeanor.
Lottery in Nebraska
The Nebraska lottery was first approved by voters in 1992, and it became the 37th such contest to take place in the United States. Since that time, more than $564 million has been generated for the state. Revenue from the games is distributed in the following fashion:
• Education – 44.5%
• Environmental Trust Fund – 44.5%
• Nebraska State Fair – 10%
• Compulsive Gamblers Assistance Fund – 1% (plus the first $500,000 in proceeds each fiscal year)
In addition to the state lottery, Nebraska also allows individual towns and cities to conduct their own lotto-style drawings. According to the law, “Any county, city, or village may establish and conduct a lottery if an election is first held pursuant to this section. Only one scheme or type of lottery may be conducted by a county, city, or village at one time.”
Scratch-off tickets are available across the state from licensed retailers, and they come in the following denominations: $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, $15, and $20.
The following lotto games are available in the state:
• Powerball – By matching all five balls and a special powerball, the player wins a minimum jackpot of $40 million.
• Mega Millions – Five matches pays $1 million, while also getting the bonus Mega Ball results in a win over $90 million.
• Pick 5 – Getting five out of five matches pays $90,000.
• Pick 3 – Prizes in this drawing range from $1 to $600.
• My Day – Prizes range from $1 to $5,000.
• 2 by 2 – Matching a single number wins you another game entry, while four matches pays a minimum of $22,000.
Sports Betting in Nebraska
There are no legal sports betting facilities in Nebraska. According to the law, “Bookmaking shall mean advancing gambling activity by unlawfully accepting bets from members of the public as a business upon the outcome of future contingent events.”
Pari-Mutuel Betting in Nebraska
Horseracing exists within the state, and it’s presided over by the Nebraska State Racing Commission. The following are the racetracks currently in operation:
• Fonner Park – Located in Grand Island, this facility holds races from February through May.
• Lincoln Race Course – Located in Lincoln, this facility only offers a handful a racing dates each year.
• Horseman’s Park – This Omaha facility offers racing during a few days in May.
• Columbus Exposition & Racing Inc. – Racing takes place August through September in Columbus.
• Hastings Exposition & Racing – One day of thoroughbred racing is offered at the end of April.
Several of these facilities also offer off-track betting, allowing you to relax in a climate-controlled environment and wager on horse races from around the nation. Betting windows are just a few feet away for your convenience, and the races are displayed on multiple high-definition television monitors.
Owning a Slot Machine in Nebraska
In most parts of the United States, private citizens can own slot machines as long as the devices are categorized as antiques. That’s not the case in Nebraska, however, as residents are prohibited by law from owning any type of slot machine. They are one of only five states to enact such a law, joining Tennessee, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Connecticut in their hardline stance.
While Nebraska does offer a few forms of gaming, there’s nothing here that’s going to knock the socks off gamblers. Many of their racetracks only provide a handful of dates each year, and the Nebraska casinos offer nothing but bingo-style slots. The addition of the lottery and online gambling give a few more options, but bettors are ultimately better off driving to a neighboring state to get their gambling fix.