Nebraska Legalizes Sports Betting – California to Vote
Nebraska has joined the growing list of US states legalizing sports betting. Gov. Pete Ricketts signed LB 561 into law last week to legalize live sports betting. Unfortunately, a provision to allow for online sports betting was removed.
Meanwhile, California citizens will get a chance to vote on sports betting, but not until next year. A measure was passed last week to put a ballot initiative for sports betting on the 2022 election ballot. The law will also allow select casino games in tribal casinos.
Nebraska Approves Sports Betting
Last November, Nebraska citizens approved a measure that will allow for sports betting in the state. Since that time, lawmakers have worked on legislation to legalize sports betting. On Wednesday, Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 561 into law.
Under the bill, tribal casinos, horse racetracks, and racinos can all apply for retail sports betting licenses. However, online sports betting was removed from the bill. Also, the bill contains a clause prohibiting bets on in-state college teams like the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This clause was added to the bill as a compromise to push the bill through.
The bill includes emergency clauses, which means that Nebraska Gaming Commission can start to take license applications and work on regulations. Some worried that the Governor would veto the bill, especially since he has been a vocal opponent to sports betting. However, he seems to be on an island alone as citizens voted for sports betting and the bill overwhelmingly passed in the house.
It will be interesting to see if Nebraska can launch sports betting by the Fall. The fall is usually the benchmark in most states to launch sports betting as they are trying to take advantage of the upcoming NFL season. NFL season is easily the most lucrative time of the year for sports betting outside of March Madness.
Will California Vote for Sports Betting?
If you’ve followed the recent history of gambling expansion in California, you know it has been riddled with failure. However, the first steps towards getting sports betting legalized are being taken – but not until next year.
California citizens will get the chance to vote on a sports betting referendum in November 2022. Last week, the California Secretary of State’s Office confirmed that the measure will appear on the ballot next year. The initiative needed 997,139 signatures to qualify, and it got well over 1.4 million signatures.
The initiative will create a constitutional amendment in California to allow for sports betting and certain casino games in tribal casinos. Tribal casinos could offer roulette, craps, and other dice games to their current offerings. However, online sports betting will not be allowed.
Taxes for sports betting in the state will be set at 10%. Of that tax, 15% will go to combat problem gambling while another 15% will go to the Bureau of Gambling Control.
Unlike many other gambling expansion measures in the past, especially online poker, this measure has the support of 18 tribal nations. As such, if citizens approve the measure, there is a good chance that lawmakers will quickly push this through.
California has a population of over 39 million, and the state is easily the most liberal in the United States. As such, it is expected that citizens will easily pass the measure. One can hope that this will be the first step towards the passage of real money online casinos. California tribes have worked against online gambling expansion in the past, but if sports betting is legalized, online gambling will become a natural companion. For now, the state will have to settle with taking baby steps.