Lottery supporters oppose Nebraska casino gambling proposal



Keno in Hickman

A video board displays the results of a new keno game every five minutes as regulars play cards and drink coffee at the Hickman Bar & Grill in 2017.




Supporters of local keno lotteries and the state lottery announced their opposition Wednesday to portions of the three-pronged initiative to authorize casino gambling at Nebraska horse racetracks, arguing that the proposal could effectively shut down their operations along with gaming conducted by Nebraska charities.

“A straight-forward reading of the plain language of Initiative 430 would restrict all games of chance in Nebraska to racetracks,” the group Nebraska Cooperative Government said in a written statement.

And that could effectively remove the legal authority for bingo, raffles and pickle card gaming as currently conducted by Nebraska charities, keno lotteries by Nebraska cities, counties and villages, and the state lottery, the group said.

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Casino gambling opponents say proposal would hurt families

The language of the initiative proposal states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law … the operation of games of chance is permitted only by authorized gaming operators within licensed racetrack enclosures.”

The initiative, which will be on Tuesday’s general election ballot, was sponsored primarily by Ho-Chunk Inc., an economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

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Nebraska Cooperative Government is a statewide entity created by more than 100 Nebraska counties, cities and villages for the purpose of administering a joint lottery within those communities.

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