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Racetrack Casino Bill Sent To Unicameral Floor

      A bill designed to prevent a surge of new casinos taking advantage of the constitutional amendment passed by Nebraska voters 2 years ago allowing casinos at horse track was advanced to the floor yesterday.

      The bill passed 7-0 by the General Affairs Committee contains what Chairman Tom Briese calls a de-facto moratorium on new so-called “racinos” that gives the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Committee until 2025 to do statewide marketing analysis.

      Nebraska currently has 6 horse tracks in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Hastings, Columbus, and South Sioux City, but racino proposals have been submitted for 7 other cities – Gering, Kimball, Ogallala, North Platte, Norfolk, Bellevue, and York.

      The newcomers would have to wait until the Gaming Commission completes its study. Briese says it strikes a balance between developers and communities who want to build casinos and gambling opponents who worry about casinos saturating the state.

     The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports an unlimited number of racinos, but state horse racing officials wants them only at the existing tracks

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