Nebraska Sports Betting Will Not Include In-State College Betting
Nebraska In-State College Betting: Sports betting is inching toward legalization in Nebraska, but there will be one significant caveat. There will not be any wagering on in-state college teams, ruling out the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ home games from sportsbooks in the state.
College sports are the gold standard in Nebraska because the state does not have a major professional sports franchise. When sports wagering passes in NE, it will create additional revenue for the state. However, it will not be as high as possible because of the inability to bet on in-state college home games.
Tweaking the Gaming Bill
The potential for in-state college sports wagers was eliminated last Thursday in the Nebraska Senate. Lawmakers altered a gambling regulation bill to eliminate betting on in-state college sports teams.
When a program is playing on the road, sportsbooks can offer odds for the game according to the latest edition of the bill. Senators claimed that this change was the only way for sports betting to pass in the state definitively.
The measure applies to all schools in the state. However, it primarily affects the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Creighton University Blue Jays. Both schools have major athletic programs that play nationally televised home competitions.
When the Cornhuskers play on primetime on a Saturday night, no bettors in the state will be able to wager the game. This will cause people to continue utilizing other betting options to wager the Huskers and the Blue Jays basketball program.
A ‘Necessary’ Compromise
It was surprising that the legislature did not eliminate betting on in-state college teams when they play away games. Although, multiple senators were outspoken that this was not necessary to get the bill to pass. Legislators who opposed sports betting only demanded that in-state home games were not listed on sportsbooks in the future.
Senator Steve Lathrop was one of the lawmakers who favored the bill, but he supported the removal of the in-state home game wagering for the good of the whole document.
Sports betting is not the focus of the bill. The gambling regulation legislation sets the standard for casinos in NE. Voters legalized landlocked betting properties in November of 2020, so this bill must pass because it includes the conditions for future properties.
If sports betting kept the bill from passing, the state’s gambling revenue would be delayed. This would be detrimental to Nebraska because the legislature is relying on this money to help fill the void that was left from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Lathrop said, “You may not like it, but in the end, we need to get (the bill) across the finish line.”
Legislators in the opposition argued that betting on college home games would add additional stress for the student-athletes. Lawmakers who wanted in-state betting said that gambling on sports is occurring all over the country.
Senator Tom Brandt questioned the alteration to the bill.
He said, “We can bet on the Iowa Hawkeyes, but we can’t bet on the Huskers.”
Brandt’s fear is that people will continue to place bets in Iowa as they have been since the border state legalized online sports wagering. This will hurt the state’s sports betting revenue if Brandt’s prediction is accurate.