Unicam Committee Takes Up Casino Gambling Rules

Now that voters have legalized casino gambling at horse tracks in Nebraska, state lawmakers are trying to figure out how to regulate the industry and use some of the revenue it generates. 

      Members of the Legislature’s General Affairs Committee dug into those details in a public hearing Monday focused on the soon-to-arrive casinos. 

      Some of the proposals considered allow misdemeanor charges for people who cheat and require casinos to set up a way for gambling addicts to voluntarily bar themselves from the facilities.

      Another prohibits casino visitors from using credit cards to gamble as a way to keep them from losing money they don’t have. 

      Fonner Park racetrack CEO Chris Katulak said it was a bad idea because casinos get more than 15% of their revenue from credit cards and because people have to be responsible for their own behavior whether gambling or shopping online.

        Another bill allows sports betting, but only inside casinos. It drew criticism from lawmakers whose districts won’t have casinos while former Congressman Tom Osborne opposed sports betting all together.

      The legendary Hall of Fame Nebraska football coach and athletic director said that although betting would be limited to professional sports, gambling interests would push to include collegiate sports, which will be hard on young athletes.

      Osborne said if athletes don’t measure up to what some gambler thinks they should have done, social media will be all over them – adding that he would get a box of “pretty nasty” letters after every loss and social media would be even more brutal and intense.