Archives for April 15, 2019

Initiative would authorize casino gambling at Nebraska race tracks

A proposed constitutional amendment authorizing casino gambling at Nebraska horse race tracks may be on the general election ballot in 2020.

Lance Morgan, president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., announced Thursday that a ballot initiative proposal has been filed with the secretary of state’s office.

Expanded gambling would generate an estimated $50 million in new state tax revenue that could help fund property tax relief and support public schools, Morgan said.

Nebraska is “missing out on taxes and proceeds from about $500 million that residents wager annually in surrounding states,” the petition sponsors said in a news release.

A similar petition effort in 2016 failed to acquire the required number of signatures.

As was the case three years ago, the initiative campaign committee will be called “Keep the Money in Nebraska.”

Accompanying the proposed constitutional amendment will be two statutory initiatives to regulate casino gambling.

Ho-Chunk, which owns the Atokad track in South Sioux City, is partnering with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Association to bring the issue to Nebraska voters.

Those connected to the racing industry have long viewed casinos as a lifeline for the state’s horse racing tracks, which have suffered through decades of decline.

In 2017, wagering on live races and races simulcast to the wagering facilities in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island and Columbus totaled $67.9 million, the lowest total since simulcast wagering was added in Nebraska in the ….