Nebraska lawmakers advance rules for casinos, sports betting

March 17, 2021 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska moved one step closer Wednesday to enacting rules for the state’s newly legalized casinos, but some gambling opponents criticized portions that would clear the way for sports betting and electronic keno tickets.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval with a 37-5 vote.

The measure would create regulations to govern Nebraska casinos once they’ve opened. Casinos had been banned until voters approved a constitutional amendment in November to allow them.

Some of the rules in the measure would prohibit patrons from using credit cards to play keno, and bars that offer the game could issue electronic tickets instead of paper tickets. It would also make clear that sports betting is allowed in the casinos, an issue that drew criticism from gambling opponents.

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The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Briese, of Albion, said the bill needs to pass to give guidance to the industry in Nebraska. Briese said he personally opposes casino gambling, but argued that lawmakers received a clear mandate from voters who approved the constitutional amendment.

Two more votes are required before the bill goes to Gov. Pete Ricketts.