Nebraska Casino Betting Set to Include Legal Sports Gambling in Late 2023

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Nebraska Casino Betting Set to Include Legal Sports Gambling in Late 2023

After a long wait, Nebraska casino betting is officially set to accept sports wagers by the end of 2023. Probably.

Though sports betting in Nebraska was approved near the end of 2021, the state didn't roll out a plan of execution until the middle of June 2022—more than a year later. However, when Warhorse Management and the Nebraska Horsemen broke ground on a new casino in Lincoln, we finally received an expected date for when residents can legally place sports wagers.

As of now, the new Lincoln casino plans to open in September 2023, provided there are no material setbacks. And when it goes live, the casino is expected to both have a retail sports betting license and on-site sportsbook.

This timeline isn't a surprise. Opening the doors of the Lincoln casino in September 2023 ensures Nebraskans can bet on the NFL right at the start of the 2023 season.  Other states such as Ohio have prioritized similar windows so that they can capitalize on one of the most popular sports betting times in the U.S.A.

Of course, you might notice one key absence from Nebraska's sports betting plan: online wagering. Will it be legal? Or can people only place sports bets on-site? And if so, why don't other casinos already have sportsbooks in place? Let's tackle the ramifications of the latest Nebraska sports betting news.

Roll Out of Nebraska Casino Betting Taking Longer Than Expected

Despite essentially giving sports betting the stamp of approval more than a year ago, Nebraska has yet to actually make it accessible to their residents.  Those who don't live in the state might find this odd, but anyone familiar with the Cornhusker Capital knows they weren't adequately set up to accelerate this process.

See, even the acceptance of Nebraska Casino betting is relatively new. Until now, the state has only allowed a select group of tribal establishments to operate within the region. And those casinos have been heavily restricted to what they can offer. Outside of virtual gaming and horse racing, there aren't many other forms of betting to patronize.

This will change with the Lincoln casino, which will be named the Lincoln Racecourse. Upon completion in September 2023, the Lincoln Racecourse will offer everything from slots, table games and video gambling to horse racing and other sports betting options. The casino has also been designed to include a sportsbook where customers can not only place bets and collect payouts but also sit and watch all the most popular events and competitions.

The Lincoln Racecourse will not be the only new casino in Nebraska, either. Warhorse Management has plans to open up at least two other sprawling facilities inside or around the state's major hubs, including in Omaha. These resort-style properties will also be approved for retail sports betting licenses and have in-house sportsbooks. It is, however, unclear when they will actually open, as only the Lincoln Racecourse has broken ground so far.

For residents in a rush to participate in a more versatile Nebraska casino betting experience, Warhorse Management plans to have a "temporary" space up and operational by the end of September 2022—just a couple of months from this writing. With that said, this makeshift casino will only feature a large selection of slots and other digital gaming options. It will NOT have a sportsbook, in large part because the Lincoln Racecourse and the state of Nebraska in general have yet to wrap up the licensing process.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Nebraska?

Conventional wisdom tends to suggest that states which legalize sports betting green light all forms of wagering—in-person, online, even for mobile apps. This is not the case. Some states only legalize in-person sports betting...and Nebraska is one of them. At this time, then, online sports betting is not legal in Nebraska.

On many levels, this doesn't come as much of a shock. Nebraska is only just now broadening the existence of their casino betting options. There may not be any rush to expand the scope even further when state officials aren't sure how sports betting in Nebraska will play out.

While the Cornhusker State is home to a couple of college football powerhouses, it does not have any major professional sports franchise within it. Those in charge probably want a sense of how much interest and projected revenue there stands to be from their population before going full tilt into legal sports betting.

Nebraska state officials are also seeking to limit the presence of commercial sportsbook operations. Tribal casinos operate within the state, generating not only tax revenue but jobs and tourism business. Allowing commercial online sportsbooks to get gaming licenses ensures some of the upside associated with legal betting will not benefit Nebraska directly.

Casino Sports Betting in Nebraska Just the Beginning

Residents of the Cornhusker State shouldn't harp on the current limitations of Nebraska casino betting. You're still going to have sports betting options in roughly one year!

Plus, the restrictions in place aren't that prohibitive. You can still travel outside the state to place mobile bets if you'd like. There are also a bunch of sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks that will allow you to set up and operate an account.

Better still, these limitations won't be in place aren't forever. Nebraska casino betting is widely considered the first step in a gradual process that eventually warms up to all types of wagering—legal online sports betting included. We can't say for sure when a change will take place, but there's a chance the Nebraska betting market looks dramatically different by 2024.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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