Home Local News NEBRASKA BILL COULD DELAY CASINOS & HORSE TRACKS BECOMING FULLY OPERATIONAL

NEBRASKA BILL COULD DELAY CASINOS & HORSE TRACKS BECOMING FULLY OPERATIONAL

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A BILL UNDER CONSIDERATION IN THE UNICAMERAL COULD RESULT IN A DELAY FOR NEW NEBRASKA CASINOS AND HORSE TRACKS TO BECOME FULLY OPERATIONAL.

LB-311, INTRODUCED BY KEARNEY SENATOR JOHN LOWE, WOULD CHANGE THE DEADLINE FOR STUDIES EVALUATING HORSE RACING AND CASINO GAMING IN NEBRASKA FROM JANUARY 1ST OF 2025 TO JANUARY 1ST OF 2029.

UNDER CURRENT NEBRASKA LAW, THE STATE RACING AND GAMING COMMISSION IS REQUIRED TO CONDUCT A MARKET ANALYSIS AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY ON HORSE RACING AND CASINO GAMING STATEWIDE AND IN EACH COUNTY THAT HAS A LICENSED RACETRACK BEFORE ANY NEW LICENSES CAN BE ISSUED.

LOWE SAYS THE EXTENSION IS NECESSARY TO ENSURE THE STATE HAS ENOUGH TIME TO COLLECT QUALITY DATA.

THE EARLIEST ESTIMATE FOR A NEBRASKA CASINO TO BE FULLY OPERATIONAL IS 2024, HE SAID, WHICH WOULD GIVE THE STATE LESS THAN A YEAR’S WORTH OF DATA TO ANALYZE.

NEBRASKA HORSEMEN AND WARHORSE CASINO REPRESENTATIVE LYNNE MCNALLY SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF THE BILL, SAYING DEVELOPMENT OF THE LINCOLN AND OMAHA RACETRACKS HAS BEEN DELAYED SIGNIFICANTLY DUE TO THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CLIMATE AND THE COST OF MATERIALS.

SHE SAID, AND A NUMBER OF REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE MARKET ANALYSIS AND IMPACT STUDIES CANNOT BE COMPLETED UNTIL ALL OF THE MATERIALS HAVE ARRIVED AND THE RACETRACKS ARE FULLY OPERATIONAL.

LANCE MORGAN, C-E-O OF HO-CHUNK, ALSO SUPPORTS THE BILL, SAYING IT TAKES CASINOS AROUND TWO YEARS TO BECOME FULLY ESTABLISHED AND IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR CUSTOMER LEVELS TO FLUCTUATE AT THE BEGINNING OF OPERATIONS, ESPECIALLY IN A NEW MARKET.

UNDER THE PROPOSAL THE STATE RACING AND GAMING COMMISSION COULD CHOOSE TO COMPLETE THE REQUIREMENTS AT AN EARLIER DATE.

THE UNICAMERAL’S GENERAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HAS TAKEN NO ACTION ON THE BILL.