Nebraska is joining several of its neighbors by legalizing sports betting. The state passed sports betting legislation in 2021 and hopes to launch it in the near future.
Although retail sports betting is legal in Nebraska, online sports betting was not included in the 2021 bill. This issue may be revisited in the future, but for now, bettors can only bet in person at licensed gaming locations.
Here’s everything you need to know about online sports betting in Nebraska.
Recent News and Details About Sports Betting in Nebraska
- The Nebraska state legislature passed a bill in May 2021 to legalize sports betting. However, this bill only allows for retail sports betting, not mobile sports betting.
- While sports betting was legalized in 2021, it’s unclear when it will launch in Nebraska. Bettors may have to wait until at least 2023 to place their first legal bets.
- Many states surrounding Nebraska have legalized online sports betting, including Colorado and Iowa. This has led residents of border cities like Omaha to travel out of state to place legal sports bets.
- Limiting sports betting to in-person wagering dramatically reduces the revenue Nebraska can generate from sports betting. As a result, lawmakers may revisit mobile sports betting legalization in the future.
- The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission is currently working to approve casinos at horse racing tracks in the state. These casinos may need to build permanent retail sports betting spaces before they begin to take bets.
- Betting on horse races is legal in Nebraska, which is home to several racetracks that host live races. Individuals can place wagers at simulcast facilities or by using an advance deposit wagering app. Simulcast betting is available at Fonner Park, Horsemen’s Park, and Lincoln Race Course.
Online Sports Betting in Nebraska: A Timeline
Nebraska legalized sports betting in 2021, but the state has yet to launch its first retail sportsbook. As Nebraska residents wait for the state to establish its sports betting model, bettors continue to travel to nearby states to bet on sports. Nebraska may be ready to launch sports betting as soon as fall 2022, but bettors may have to wait longer to start placing bets if there are any delays. Here’s a closer look at the timeline leading to sports betting legalization in Nebraska:
- July 12, 2022: Warhorse Management and the Nebraska Horsemen break ground at the Lincoln Racecourse as they work to open the Warhorse Casino. Once Warhorse Casino opens, it will be the first location in the state’s capital city to offer gaming and sports betting.
- Jan. 7, 2022: Nebraska Sen. Tom Briese introduces LB 876. The bill would require a 50-mile radius to be established between existing racinos and proposed racinos. Briese was previously the lead sponsor of the bill that legalized sports betting at Nebraska racetracks.
- May 27, 2021: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signs LB 561 to legalize the construction of six new casinos. Each casino will include in-person sports betting spaces.
- March 18, 2021: The Nebraska state legislature passes LB 561 with a vote of 44-3. The bill would legalize retail sports betting and requires the signature of Ricketts, who has previously opposed casino gaming but is still expected to sign the bill.
- Nov. 4, 2020: Nebraska voters approve the expansion of casino gaming. State-licensed horse racing tracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus, and South Sioux City will be able to offer casino gambling.
How Do Nebraska Residents Feel About Sports Betting?
Although Nebraska voters haven’t had the opportunity to vote directly on sports betting legalization, they did vote to approve casino gaming at licensed horse racing tracks in 2020 via Nebraska Initiative 430.
|Nebraska Initiative 430, Authorizing Gambling at Racetracks Initiative (2020)|
A “yes” vote on this initiative represented the voter’s support of enacting a law to authorize casino gambling operations at licensed racetracks. The law also establishes the Nebraska Gaming Commission as the body responsible for regulating gambling operations.
As Nebraskans voted overwhelmingly to approve the expansion of gambling and several nearby states have already legalized sports betting, it’s likely Nebraska residents would also support sports betting legalization.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Legal in Nebraska?
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) apps let players utilize their sports knowledge to build fantasy teams and compete in contests against other players for cash and other prizes. These apps often operate in a legal gray area because they can be considered games of skill or games of chance.
DFS contests are available in Nebraska. While the state has made several attempts to legalize and regulate these contests, none of these attempts have been successful. Still, the state has not explicitly prohibited DFS contests. As such, major platforms such as DraftKings and FanDuel continue to accept entries from players in Nebraska.
Nebraska Sports Betting FAQs
|Is online sports betting legal?||No|
|Is mobile sports betting legal?||No|
|Is betting legal at retail locations?||Yes|
|Minimum legal gambling age||21|
Editor’s Note: Information accurate as of July 2022.
When will sports betting launch in Nebraska?
While Nebraska legalized sports betting in 2021, it’s unclear when sports betting will launch. Warhorse Casino in Lincoln is hoping to open by fall 2022 and would include sports betting kiosks.
Will there be online sportsbooks in Nebraska?
There are currently no plans to launch online sports betting in Nebraska. The bill that legalized sports betting in 2021 only included retail sports betting.
How old do I have to be to bet online in Nebraska?
Online betting is not available in Nebraska, but if it is legalized in the future, you will have to be 21 or older to bet online.
Will you need to be a resident of Nebraska to place bets online?
If online sports betting is legalized in Nebraska, you most likely won’t have to be a resident to participate. However, you will need to be located within state lines before placing any bets.
Who regulates the online sportsbooks in Nebraska?
There are currently no online sportsbooks available in Nebraska. If they’re introduced in the future, the Nebraska Gaming Commission will likely be responsible for regulation.
Is it safe to use online sportsbook apps in Nebraska?
No, it is not safe to use online sportsbook apps in Nebraska, as there are currently no legal options. Some offshore sportsbooks may claim to operate legally in the state, but bettors should avoid these as they are not licensed to provide online sports betting in Nebraska.
Neighboring States That Legalized Sports Betting
Nebraska is joining several of its neighbors in offering legal sports betting. Of the six states that Nebraska shares a border with, Colorado, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming have legalized sports betting, and Kansas and Missouri are both exploring the possibility of legalization.
- Colorado: Colorado hosts one of the nation’s biggest sports betting markets, with several retail sports betting locations and more than two dozen online sportsbooks. Colorado has granted each of the state’s 30-plus casinos the option to offer online sports betting, leaving the possibility for more online sportsbooks to join the market.
- Iowa: Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019, and since launching its first online sportsbooks later that year, the state’s market has grown to include nearly 20 online sports betting apps.
- South Dakota: Sports betting is legal but very limited in South Dakota. The state does not have online sports betting and only legalized retail sports betting at a selection of casinos in the city of Deadwood.
- Wyoming: Sports betting went live in Wyoming in 2021 with DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM. Since then, FanDuel and PointsBet have joined the market, and other operators have applied for licensing and hope to launch in the near future.