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Nebraska Sports Betting Updates

Retail sports betting is legal in Nebraska, but has not launched yet. Online sportsbooks are not legal in NE.

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Online sports betting sites are not legal in Nebraska. However, sports fans in NE can play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games on the sites listed above.

Contents

Nebraska Sports Betting Summary

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts legalized retail sports betting by signing LB 561 on May 27, 2021. The bill gave each of the state’s horse racetracks the right to open casinos and operate retail sportsbooks at those venues. As these casinos are still under construction, retail sports betting hasn’t launched yet.

Online sports betting is not yet legal in NE. Senator Justin Wayne has been a big supporter of sports betting, putting forward three bills in 2020. One of these bills, LB 990, included a provision for online sports betting but it died in Committee. LB 561 also included measures to legalize online sports betting, but lawmakers removed the online clause so the bill could pass and Nebraska could at least join the list of legal betting states in some form.

Read our complete guide to learn more about sports betting in Nebraska, the latest NE legislation, legal online betting options, and the legal requirements to gamble in the Cornhusker State.

Nebraska Online Sportsbooks Summary

When LB 561 passed in May 2021, it did not include a provision for online sports betting as this failed to gain the necessary support among lawmakers. Currently, online sports betting is illegal in the state and cannot be legalized until 2023 at the earliest, when the 2023 legislative session opens.

In the meantime, you can visit neighboring Colorado, Iowa, and Wyoming, where online sportsbooks are legal. You can bet with some of the biggest operators in the US like BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings in WY. Those sportsbooks are all available in CO and IA, along with Betfred, Caesars, and a host of great options. You can also play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games with ESPN, Boom, Yahoo!, FantasyDraft, DraftKings, and FanDuel in Nebraska, while NE allows wagering on horse races online via advance deposit wagering sites.

How to Place a Bet in Nebraska

While retail sports betting is yet to launch in Nebraska, you can already place legal wagers on horse racing online. Follow these simple steps to place your first horse racing bet:

  1. Research the horse race you want to bet on, including the form of the horses and jockeys involved. The more research you do in advance, the better your chances of winning are.

  2. Choose the horse racing betting site that you want to use. Several options are available, such as TwinSpires and TVG.

  3. Create an account by entering your full name, address, date of birth, email, phone number, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Horse racing betting sites need this information to protect you from fraud and underage gambling by verifying your age.

  4. Visit the site’s cashier section and choose a deposit method. Add money to your account, ensuring you meet the minimum deposit requirements for any welcome bonuses.

  5. Find the race you want to bet on and select a horse. Add the wager to your bet slip, choose your stake, and place the bet.

  6. If your bet is successful, return to the cashier section and follow the instructions to withdraw any winnings.

Banking Methods Available in Nebraska

Nebraska online horse racing betting sites offer a variety of payment methods, including bank cards like Visa and Mastercard. However, you can’t use other bank cards like American Express, as these providers have rules preventing use on online gambling sites. E-wallets are also readily available, with PayPal the most popular. Some online horse racing betting sites may let you deposit with a PayNearMe card, which you can top up at retailers like CVS and Walmart.

Other payment methods like the Play+ prepaid card will be available when sports betting launches with sportsbooks like Caesars and BetMGM. You will also be able to place bets with cash at a retail sportsbook.

Who is Eligible to Bet in NE?

When Nebraska sports betting launches, you will need to be at least 21 years old to bet at one of the retail sportsbooks that will be based in the state’s six casinos. These casinos are currently being built on the grounds of Nebraska’s six horse racetracks. As well as those restricted by age, the following individuals will be prohibited from placing sports bets:

  • Players, coaches, or any professional or collegiate sports team members.

  • Individuals with an ownership stake in a professional sports team.

  • Referees in any professional or college sports league.

  • Individuals employed by organizations with licensing from the Nebraska Gaming Commission, including owners, directors, officers, and key stakeholders.

  • Individuals employed by the leagues that create rules for sports (e.g., NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL)

  • Individuals with the professional authority and capacity to influence players.

  • Individuals with non-public information about a sports team (e.g., access to player medical records).

  • Individuals that have voluntarily excluded themselves from gambling activities.

  • Individuals prohibited from betting on a state or federal level (e.g., due to criminal history).

Latest Nebraska Sports Betting Updates

Current Sports Betting Status in Nebraska

Retail sports betting in Nebraska was legalized on May 27, 2021. The Nebraska Gaming Commission is in the process of introducing sports betting to the Cornhusker State, but there is no fixed launch date. Online sports betting is not legal. Instead, you can play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games or bet on horse racing online.

Timeline for Sports Betting in Nebraska

  • June 10, 2022: Warhorse Gaming, a joint venture between the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is awarded a provisional gaming license. The NHBPA owns three racetracks in the state – Atokad Park, Lincoln Race Course, and Horsemen’s Park.

  • July 2, 2021: AG Park signs an agreement with Caesars Entertainment. Caesars will build a Harrah’s casino at the racetrack, along with a Caesars sportsbook.

  • May 27, 2021: Gov. Ricketts signs LB 561 to legalize retail sports betting in Nebraska.

  • May 20, 2021: LB 561 passes the House and the Senate with an Emergency Clause 44-3-2. Originally, the bill intended to legalize online and in-state college sports betting. However, lawmakers removed both rules so the bill could pass.

  • April 9, 2021: Fonner Park, the location of one of the six racinos to be built in the state, announces it will partner with Elite Casino Resorts to build the on-site casino that will house the sportsbook.

  • January 19, 2021: Sen. Tom Briese introduces LB 561 to legalize retail sports betting and casinos in Nebraska, following the November ballot.

  • November 20, 2020: The Nebraskan public votes to approve the building of retail casinos in the state by 65.01% to 34.99%. This includes sports betting at retail casinos.

  • August 13, 2020: LR 295, LB 971, and LB 990 die in the General Affairs Committee because of lack of support.

  • July 2, 2020: Initiative 430, which intends to legalize games of chance at horse racetracks across Nebraska, receives the required number of signatures to go to the ballot.

  • January 14, 2020: Sen. Wayne introduces LB 990 to the Senate. LB 990 intends to legalize sports betting as a game of chance, alongside poker and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). LB990 is referred to the General Affairs Committee.

  • January 13, 2020: Sen. Wayne introduces LB 971 to the Senate. The bill intends to legalize sports betting as a part of the state lottery. Sen. Wayne also introduces LR 295 to the Senate to legalize and tax games of chance, including sports betting. Both bills are referred to the General Affairs Committee.

  • May 14, 2018: The US Supreme Court strikes down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). States in the US are given the right to legalize sports betting.

Nebraska Sports Betting Background

Nebraska has a long tradition of horse racing, with pari-mutuel wagering legalized in 1934. Following the PASPA decision, Sen. Wayne made a big push to legalize sports betting, especially in 2020. The senator submitted three different sports betting bills, each with a different way of legalizing wagering. All of these bills failed.

However, there was enough support in the state to receive the 8% of voter signatures required to get games of chance added to the November ballot. Nebraskans voted in favor of land-based casinos and retail sports betting. This vote led to the passing of LB 561 in 2021 to legalize retail sports betting.

Future of Nebraska Sports Betting

The key event for the future of Nebraska sports betting is the launch of retail sportsbooks. Retail sportsbooks can only launch at commercial land-based casinos, which are all currently under construction. There is no set deadline for these casinos to open, and they have yet to confirm their operating partners. However, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, and Caesars Sportsbook are interested parties, with Caesars having already signed an agreement to operate in the state.

In addition, online sports betting isn’t legal. While there have been attempts to legalize online sports wagering, including LB 990 sponsored by Sen. Wayne in 2020, there hasn’t been much support from Nebraska lawmakers. It’s unlikely that this subject will be broached again until 2023.

Nebraska Sports Betting Locations

Due to the terms of LB 561, horse racetracks are the only locations eligible to launch sports betting in Nebraska. As a part of the legislative bill, the Nebraska Gaming Commission agreed to allow the six horse racetracks in NE to apply for casino licenses. Currently, these casinos are under construction. There are five existing tribal casinos in Nebraska, but these are not eligible to offer retail sports betting.

Caesars is confirmed to operate a casino at the AG Park racetrack. Other major operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM are expected to partner with racetracks to launch sportsbooks and casinos. Until the new retail sportsbooks launch, Nebraskans can head to casinos in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, or Iowa to place their sports bets at a retail location.

Nebraska Lottery Locations

The Nebraska Lottery has been operating since 1993 and has a minimum age of 19. Lottery tickets are available in over 1,200 locations across the state, but you can’t buy lottery tickets online. The Nebraska Gaming Commission has no connections with the Nebraska Lottery, and there are no plans to launch sports betting at retail lottery locations.

Off-Track and Stadium Betting Locations

Retail sportsbooks will only launch at state-licensed racetracks, so there will be no in-stadium betting. Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in Nebraska in 1935, and the Nebraska Racing Commission (now the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission) launched in 1936. There are no off-track betting (OTB) locations in the state, but you can place pari-mutuel bets at all six of the racetracks.

Location Address Phone Number
AG Park 822 15th Street, Columbus, NE 68601 (402) 564-0133
Atokad Downs 1542 Atokad Drive, South Sioux City, NE 68776 (402) 494-5722
Fonner Park 700 E. Stolley Park Road, Grand Island, NE 68801 (308) 382-4515
Hastings Expositions & Racing 947 S. Baltimore Avenue, NE 68901 (402) 463-0230
Horsemen’s Park 6303 Q Street, Omaha, NE 68117 (402) 731-2900
Lincoln Race Course 7055 S. 1st Street, Lincoln, NE 68512 (402) 474-5371

Nebraska Responsible Gambling Resources

  • Nebraska National Council on Problem Gambling – Shows where problem gambling support is available across the state. It offers a 24/7 live chat and a helpline. (800) 522-4700.

  • Nebraska Commission on Problem Gambling – Provides support for problem gamblers and their families. Confidential help is available free of charge. (833) 238-6837.

  • Nebraska Gamblers Anonymous – Organize meetings across the state where problem gamblers can share experiences and support each other. The organization also provides guidance and treatment programs. (909) 931-9056.

When retail sports betting launches in NE, the Nebraska Gaming Commission will create a self-exclusion program for retail sportsbooks. You will be able to add yourself to the self-exclusion list for a year, 18 months, five years, or a lifetime. You will only be able to add yourself for a lifetime if you have been on the self-exclusion list for six months.

In addition, retail sportsbooks will be expected to employ other responsible gambling measures such as training staff and betting limits.

Teams to Bet on in Nebraska

  • Pro Sports

With a population of just under 2 million, it’s not surprising Nebraska has no professional major league sports teams. Nebraska was briefly home to an NBA team in 1972, when the Cincinnati Royals moved to Kansas City with a second home in Omaha. The Kansas City-Omaha Kings ceased using their Omaha base in 1975, and the franchise was renamed the Kansas City Kings. They became the modern-day Sacramento Kings after moving to California following the conclusion of the 1984-85 season.

There are several professional sports teams in neighboring states that Nebraskans choose to support. Here are some of the most popular professional sports teams in NE:

Colorado Missouri
Denver Broncos (NFL) Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
Denver Nuggets (NBA) Kansas City Royals (MLB)
Colorado Rockies (MLB) St Louis Blues (MLB)
Colorado Avalanche (NHL) St Louis Cardinals (NHL)
  • Minor League Sports

With no major league sports teams in Nebraska, some NE sports fans lend their support to minor league teams in the Cornhusker State. These include the Omaha Storm Chasers, a Triple-A affiliate of the MLB’s Kansas City Royals. The Storm Chasers play in the International League and have three class titles, seven league titles, and four conference titles to their name.

The Lincoln Saltdogs compete in the American Association of Professional Baseball West Division and play at Haymarket Park, which is shared with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers. Meanwhile, Champions Indoor Football League outfit Omaha Beef won the League Championship in 2022 and regularly sell out the 5,000-capacity Liberty First Credit Union Arena.

  • College Sports

Creighton Bluejays: The Bluejays compete in the Big East conference, representing Creighton University. The baseball program plays its home games at TD Ameritrade Park, which is also the host stadium for the College World Series. The men’s soccer team has found lots of success, with a Bluejays player featuring in the MLS draft every year from 1996 to 2014, including players such as five-time MLS Cup winner and USMNT-capped Brian Mullen.

Nebraska Cornhuskers: The Cornhuskers represent the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Big Ten Conference. The Cornhuskers have 22 varsity teams and have won 29 National Championships, including five in college football. Home football games are played at the 85,000-seater Memorial Stadium, which has sold out every football game since 1962.

Omaha Mavericks: 16 varsity teams compete in the Summit League Conference on behalf of the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks. The Mavericks’ mascot is Durango the bull, and the team plays in crimson and black.

  • Women's Sports

Nebraska has its own women’s soccer team, Sporting Nebraska FC Women, competing in the United Women’s Soccer League. This is a pro-am league, and Sporting Nebraska will play its first season in the Central Conference in 2022. There are also two Women’s Flat Track Derby Association teams, the No Coast Derby Girls and the Omaha Rollergirls. Every NCAA Division I college also supports a variety of women’s sports teams.

How Does Nebraska Compare to Other States?

  • Market Coverage

When sports betting launches in Nebraska, some of the top operators in the US are expected to go live. Caesars has already announced its intentions to launch and will bring its wide range of betting markets. This includes a variety of betting lines on major league sports and markets on niche sports like NASCAR. LB 561 banned wagering on in-state college teams, mirroring legislation in states like New York. If you want to bet on Nebraska-based NCAA teams, you’ll have to visit a different state.

  • Competitive Odds & Prices

Caesars is the only operator confirmed to launch in Nebraska pending licensing, and the sportsbook will bring its generous betting odds to the Cornhusker State. Caesars offers identical odds in all 17 legal betting states in which it operates, so you’ll get the same odds in Nebraska as in, for example, Pennsylvania. The sportsbook is an official partner of the NFL and provides excellent odds on player props and other markets.

  • Gambling Revenue

Nebraska sportsbooks will pay 20% tax to the state on sports betting revenue. Allocation of this tax is defined in LB561’s legislation. 70% of taxes received will go to property tax relief, 25% to local governments where gambling is allowed, 2.5% to the general fund, and 2.5% to problem gambling prevention.

Most states in the US receive a large proportion of sports betting tax from online sports betting, so NE may be missing out here. For comparison, Iowa has a fairly similar population (3.1m) to Nebraska (1.9m), and neither state has a major league team. Iowa allows residents to bet on sports online and in person, and it’s estimated that more than 80% of sports betting is done online in Iowa. As of June 2022, Iowa has a betting handle of over $4bn since sports betting launched in 2019. With a tax rate of 6.75%, the state has taken around $17.5m in tax from $244m in revenue. Nebraska could expect similar figures with a higher tax rate if it legalized online sports betting.

  • Betting Taxes

Every US bettor must declare all gambling winnings to the IRS. If you win more than $600, you must fill out a W-2G form. Sportsbooks can also hold up to 25% of your winnings for tax purposes. In addition, your gambling winnings need to be included in your state income tax. Nebraska has a tax rate of 5.5% for all residents.

Sportsbooks must also pay a 0.25% excise tax on every monthly betting handle following the Internal Revenue Code. The Code also requires sportsbooks to pay $50 for every employee involved in taking wagers.

Who Oversees Sports Betting in Nebraska?

LB 561 established the Nebraska Gaming Commission to oversee sports betting in the state. The Gaming Commission is responsible for creating the licensing requirements for retail sportsbooks, including checking these operators for safety. It also enforces the state’s responsible gambling measures, such as the planned self-exclusion program. The regulatory body will oversee any future industry changes, such as new regulations on available sports and online wagering.

FAQs

Is betting legal in Nebraska?

Retail sports betting is legal in Nebraska. However, no retail sportsbooks have opened. Online sports betting is illegal in NE, but you can wager on horse races online and play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games.

Who governs sports betting in Nebraska?

The Nebraska Gaming Commission oversees sports betting in the state. The gaming extension of the Racing Commission was established as a part of LB 561.

How old do you have to be to bet in Nebraska?

You must be at least 21 years old to wager when retail sportsbooks launch in Nebraska. You must bring a photo ID to a retail sportsbook to prove your age.

When did sports betting launch in Nebraska?

Sports betting hasn’t launched in Nebraska. While Nebraska legalized retail sports betting on May 27, 2021, no sportsbooks have opened. Regulators are still establishing the rules for new sportsbooks, and the casinos where these sportsbooks can open are under construction.

Where can I bet on sports in Nebraska?

When sports betting launches, you can visit one of Nebraska’s six casinos and find a retail sportsbook. You can also visit neighboring Iowa, Colorado, and Wyoming and place legal bets.

Are sportsbooks in Nebraska safe?

The Nebraska Gaming Commission will regulate any sportsbook launching in Nebraska. The Commission will test each sportsbook for safety measures and fairness so that you can bet confidently.

Do I have to pay taxes on betting winnings in Nebraska?

Yes, you must pay taxes on sports betting winnings to the IRS. You must declare all winnings and fill out a W-2G form if you win more than $600. Sports betting winnings are also included in Nebraska’s state income tax, which is 5.5%.

Can you play DraftKings in Nebraska?

DraftKings’ sportsbook is not available in Nebraska as no sportsbooks have launched. However, you can use DraftKings’ Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform and join pools for all the major leagues.

Can you play FanDuel in Nebraska?

No, you can’t wager with FanDuel in Nebraska as sports betting hasn’t launched yet. You can visit neighboring Iowa, Colorado, and Wyoming to place bets with FanDuel. Their Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games are, though, available to Nebraskans.

Can you play BetMGM in Nebraska?

No, BetMGM is not available to bet within Nebraska. Three neighboring states offer BetMGM’s online sportsbook, so you can travel to either Colorado, Wyoming, or Iowa to use the BetMGM sportsbook app.

Can you play Caesars in Nebraska?

Caesars is not currently available in Nebraska. However, the brand is launching a casino at AG Park and will operate a retail sportsbook when betting launches.

Can you play TwinSpires in Nebraska?

No, TwinSpires is not available in Nebraska. TwinSpires is shutting down its sportsbook product, so bettors in NE aren’t missing out.

Which sportsbooks will be available in Nebraska in the future?

Caesars has already announced its partnership with AG Park and its intentions to launch a retail sportsbook. However, the five other Nebraska racetracks will partner with some of the biggest US brands like BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet.