Casino Bill in Nebraska Is Surrounded by Challenges Despite Moving Ahead
Titled Legislative Bill 876, the bill has moved forward with a vote count of 7-0, with 7 in favor of the casino bill. The next voting has been lined up. It only depends on how well the existing issues are resolved.
There are two issues, to be precise. Both deal with two separate but important factors that cannot be missed while considering finally implementing the Casino bill. Meanwhile, the passing of Legislative Bill 876 is still an achievement as it was surrounded by various disputes for several weeks.
The next voting is tentatively scheduled for November this year. It will be subject to two main disputes that surround the Casino bill. The first dispute relates to the location of the region where casinos will be based in the state.
Members are engaged in a healthy debate to conclude as to how far casinos should be located from the already existing racetracks. Some of the estimates state that casinos must be located at least 50 or 150 miles away from racetracks.
Another dispute that must be addressed is if a moratorium should be applied to racino, a term that is formed by the combination of casino and racetrack.
Both issues look significant as they can have a long-lasting effect on the industry. State Sen. Tom Briese, the chair of the General Affairs Committee, has said that the legislatures have found a resolution after all.
Some of the locations that have popped up during the discussion for racino are Ogallala, North Platte, Gering, and Norfolk. Advocates are betting for these locations, but there is a lot that is yet to be considered. The presence cannot harm the casinos that already exist there, and hence, a detailed study and analysis must be conducted first.
One factor that the Chamber of Commerce of Nebraska is yet to talk about is the number of casinos that would be allowed in the region after the bill has been cleared for implementation.
Officials from horse racing have made the decision a bit easy by suggesting that casinos could be allowed to function at the places where racetracks already exist. Some such locations are Columbus, South Sioux City, Grand Island, Omaha, and Lincoln, along with Hastings.
Tom Briese has called for a de facto moratorium due to the presence of such disagreements. He has further suggested the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission conduct a detailed analysis of the market with a maximum deadline of January 01, 2025.
The analysis would also help to decide if the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission should grant licenses to new operators or not.
Senator Justin Wayne has, as of now, decided not to cast a vote by stating that he would not create any issue on the floor during the debate.
Once the bill is cleared and casinos line up to apply for the licenses, they will be required to be a sum of $1 million to secure a 20-year permit.