At Long Last, Nebraska Sports Betting is Officially Live

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 22, 2023 12:00 AM
Nebraska sports betting is officially set to launch.

In a rather sudden turn of events, sports betting in Nebraska is just about set to go live.

Yes, you read that correctly. And no, you are not hallucinating.

This is a borderline stunning twist. Though The Cornhusker State voted to legalize sports gambling in 2020 and signed it into law all the way back in May 2021, they haven't shown much progress on the rollout. As of April this year, in fact, Nebraska casinos weren't even rushing to apply for sports betting licenses. A couple of establishments were still working out of temporary locations, and officials inside the state seemed to (loosely) indicate legal wagering wouldn't go live before 2024.

Yet, here we are. It's the summer of 2023, and Nebraska sports betting, at long last, appears to be on track for an imminent launch.

Details of Nebraska Sports Betting Launch

How soon will Nebraska launch legal sports betting operations? Probably by the time you read this. The first retail sportsbook in Nebraska is set to open their doors on Thursday, June 22. Michael Salvo of WSN.com has further details on the launch below:

"The WarHorse Casino in Lincoln, Nebraska, has announced their new sportsbook will officially open this Thursday. This will be the first legal sportsbook to open in the state, officially adding them to the list of states where some form of legal sports betting is available. The new sportsbook will feature a sportsbook window and ten kiosks, with plans to grow the space more. 'Nebraskans have been asking for the opportunity to wager on sports since the ballot initiatives were passed in 2020,' Ho-Chunk Inc. CEO Lance Morgan said of the launch. “We’re thrilled to be the first casino in the state to offer sports betting.'”

In some ways, this grand opening speaks to the monumental delays that have defined this process. Other casinos throughout Nebraska are eligible to have sports betting operations but aren't yet ready to rock. Everyone involved has dealt with vendor issues and regulatory hangups. And others, as we already mentioned, are still running their casino gameplay out of makeshift locations.

At least one additional Nebraska casino is hoping to unveil an in-house sportsbook sometime in 2024. More could follow suit before and after. So, it shouldn't be long before the state has multiple gambling options under their belt.

Even with the first Nebraska sportsbook going live, some details remain hazy. Others, however, have taken shape. We now know Nebraska will allow betting on college sports, but only on out-of-state programs. They have also clarified tax rates, mobile application regulations and other operational factors.

Will Nebraska Allow Online Sports Betting?

Right now, online sports betting in Nebraska is not yet legal. The gambling measure they approved only green lit on-site locations. Officials for both the state and tribal-run casinos were worried too much revenue would invariably flow out of Nebraska by opening the doors to corporate operators.

However, casinos are permitted to release a mobile sports betting app. The WarHorse Casino actually already has one, and it should be live once their brick-and-mortar sportsbook opens up. Users must still be present on-site to submit their wagers, but the Warhorse Casino Nebraska sports betting app allows customers to create accounts and build their gambling slips from anywhere. This way, once they're on-site, all they have to do is hit submit. As Salvo noted: "The app will provide a QR code that can be scanned at the retail sportsbook, automatically populating your bet ticket. The hope is that this will keep lines at the sportsbook moving."

Other casinos are likely to follow a similar model for their sportsbook launches. And this is where larger online operators can enter the fray. Sports betting sites are allowed to partner up with casinos and racinos to help their mobile wagering systems. 

Whether Nebraska eventually legalizes online sports betting remains to be seen. It's certainly a possibility if the on-site business is a success. But that transition is at least a couple of years away—and likely more. Remember, Nebraska doesn't even know when all of their on-site betting operators will officially be up and running. They certainly aren't going to overhaul gambling laws while the current process remains unfinished.

Fortunately, for anyone who needs a mobile wagering alternative, we've got a list of the best online sports betting sites in the United States. All of these operators will let U.S. citizens create and service an account—safely and reliably.

Nebraska Sports Betting Imposes One of the Country's Higher Tax Rates

It will not be cheap to operate a sportsbook in the state of Nebraska. 

Retail locations will be subjected to a 20 percent tax on all gaming revenue. This rate will remain the same no matter how users submit wagers, be it at a kiosk or using an on-site mobile sports betting app.

Relative to the rest of the United States, the Nebraska sports betting tax falls on the higher end. It is especially steep in comparison to retail locations throughout the country. States typically charge a lower tax for on-site wagers.

Delaware (51 percent), New Hampshire (51 percent), Rhode Island (51 percent) and Pennsylvania (36 percent) are currently the only other states with retail sports betting taxes of at least 20 percent. This rate could be prohibitive for Nebraska if and when they open their doors to corporate online sportsbooks to bid for independent licenses. In the meantime, though, the steeper tax rate is expected to significantly increase the state's annual revenue.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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