Nebraska Gambling Tightens Under Failed Legislature
This year has seen the progressive growth of the gambling industry and a change undertaken by many states within the United States, however, a recent push to loosen restrictions within Nebraska have failed in the legislature, despite many perceived opportunities.
It has been claimed that Nebraska, with the introduction of lessened restrictions on gambling, could preserve jobs, generate revenue for their counties and also gain a connection to the millions of dollars poured into South Dakota and Iowa casinos yearly. Despite these amicably positive claims, lawmakers have killed efforts this year through a bill that was set to allow more gambling outlets to run extended keno games per hour.
A legislative panel gave the final judgement on the constitutional amendment proposal that would see the allowance of casinos located within 60 miles of a border state to this legislature.
Senator Paul Schumacher of Columbus said that opponents of gambling have added increasing pressure on lawmakers to take down proposals so that they do not see the light of day and neglect Nebraska from making revenue that is needed. Lawmakers are being seen as trying to balance out government tax-cut proposals with the funding of child welfare, Medicaid payments for hospitals, nursing homes and other medical establishments as well as other state necessities.
“The state is bleeding,” claimed Schumacher, who was involved in the introduction of the constitutional amendment that has been rejected. He continued with a break-down of gambling opponents who, through their resistance of measure “are persistent, while the ordinary people who support it don’t have lobbyists out in the rotunda. But this issue is not going away.”
The opponents of gambling have claimed that economic benefits of each bill are not proportionate and are overblown, only proving an attempt to open the door to expanding gaming within the state of Nebraska. They claim that there is neglect for mentioning hidden costs, such as an increase in embezzlement and gambling addiction related crimes.
“Expanding casinos across the rest of Nebraska will not improve anything and will add serious damage to the economy itself,” said Loretta Fairchild, a retired Nebraska Wesleyan University economist. “The benefits seem pretty direct, but the costs are very indirect.”
Pat Loontjer, executive director of Omaha-based Gambling with the Good Life said that “Legalized gambling typically benefits out-of-state casino owners, but it saddles states with the cost of regulating the industry and dealing with crimes such as embezzlement and theft.”
Loontjer also continued by stating that the gambling industry the placement of casinos within Nebraska is an intentional plan to draw gamblers from across borders and boost arguments of expansion.
The state of Nebraska currently allows Keno, horse racing and lottery though it has resisted video gaming machines and casinos.
Source: ABC News