The state of Nebraska looks like it will become the latest state to officially legalize the sports betting industry. This was not one of the states expected to explore this market when 2021 began, but lawmakers have worked quickly to get a bill in place.
The Nebraska Legislature is different than in most states as there is only one chamber, and that has made passing this bill much easier. LB 561 is the bill that has been gaining traction, and it is now up for final consideration.
When this bill was presented for a first reading earlier this year, the vote to approve the measure was 37-5. This time around, there is a requirement of 33 votes if lawmakers are going to legalize sports betting.
This bill was originally just an expanded gaming bill, but lawmakers were able to add sports betting to it as well. Voters in Nebraska approved a gaming expansion in November 2020, and specific language in that referendum allowed for sports betting to be included.
If this bill is approved, the State Racing and Gaming Commission will be created to govern both sports betting and casino gaming. This group will be created by combining the State Racing Commission and Nebraska Gaming Commission.
Mobile Not an Option
When sports betting officially launches in the state of Nebraska, retail sportsbooks will be the only option. There was a brief discussion about approving mobile betting as well, but that was not included in the final bill.
This decision was made to give casinos a chance to get off to a good start in this new industry. It is possible that mobile sports betting will be added at a later date. Lawmakers did agree to allow betting on collegiate sporting events, and this should help the market bring in more handle and revenue.
Impressive Figures Expected
While this bill was being discussed in the state legislature, some revenue projections were shared to give lawmakers an idea of the impact of passing this bill. Nebraska is not going to become a huge casino or sports betting market, but it will generate some impressive figures.
According to the report, the gross revenue for the first fiscal year is expected to be around $37 million. For the fiscal year 2022-23, that number jumps all the way up to around $245 million.
After these new industries are fully established in Nebraska, tax revenue is expected to be around $50 million annually.
Competition From Neighboring States
The Midwest portion of the United States has turned into a big player in the sports betting industry, and Nebraska will be facing plenty of competition. Lawmakers in Nebraska wanted to approve this new industry to keep money in the state as residents were simply crossing the border to make these wagers.
Iowa and Colorado provide the toughest competition for Nebraska, and both states have already established sports betting. Nebraska might not be the only state in this part of the country legalizing sports betting in 2021, as Missouri and Kansas are looking to do the same.