Nebraska To Put Casino Gambling On November Ballot
The local group, Keep the Money in Nebraska, is organizing a campaign that seeks to legalize gambling in the state. The group is endorsing three separate petitions hoping to put their cause to a vote in November.
Since gambling is illegal in Nebraska, people who wants to gamble are exiting the state and goes to Iowa to do just that. The group deems this as a lost in revenue, which is why they are calling to keep Nebraska money in the state.
The push to legalize gambling
Many of Nebraska’s neighbors have legalized gambling. This is why many of the state’s citizens are flocking these states for them to be able to gambling. Come November, if they choose to legalize gambling, the state can essentially open a huge revenue stream.
In a statement Omaha Exposition and Racing CEO Mike Newlin said:
“Eight point eight billion dollars has been wagered by Nebraska residents at the Iowa casinos over the past 25 years. It’s average the approximately half a billion dollars in wagered by Nebraska residence out of state.”
The massive potential revenue is good cause for any political drive. Aside from these revenue going back to the state’s coffers, gambling can also open up new jobs, improve other industries, and generate tax for the state.
The three petitions
The first petition seeks to create a new amendment to the state’s constitution. The amendment seeks to change the current law in order to allow the licensing, taxation, authorization, and regulation of games of change operated by a licensed casino.
Mr. Newlin said that they are proposing to build new casinos within existing horse track facilities. These facilities are located in Omaha, Columbus, Grand Island, Lincoln, Hastings, and South Sioux City.
The second petition seeks to create the Nebraska Gaming Commission. This commission will be mandated to regulate all casino operations in the state. According to the petition, the commission will be composed of five members from the State Racing Commission, and two stakeholders that will be appointed by the governor. All members of the commission will serve a five-year term.
The third petition aims to create a new statute that will establish new tax rules regarding gambling revenues. Mr. Newlin said that if the petitions will pass, they are planning to institute a 20% tax rate, with 70% of it going towards property tax relief fund.
Mr. Newlin believes that if these petitions ever go through, it will generate between $65 and $85 million in revenue annually. The petitions also include that 2.5% of tax revenues will go to the Compulsive Gamblers Assistance Fund, another 2.5% will go to the General Fund. Moreover, 25% of all revenue from gambling tax will go into the coffers of the county where the casino is located.
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