Nebraska Gambling and Poker Laws
2021 Update: Can I Play Online Poker in Nebraska.
Poker could be legal in Nebraska soon! A new bill that could legalize online poker is making its way through Nebraska’s legislature. The Games of Skill Act, or LB990, legalizes sports betting, daily fantasy sports and poker. Sen. Justin Wayne introduced the bill in January, it still needs to pass through the legislature to become law.
The bill is very specific and even defines which poker games are games of skill. Texas Hold’em, Omaha and 5-Card Draw are all covered in the bill. Despite that, online poker isn’t specifically mentioned in the bill, but the Sen. Wayne said they’d like to include online gaming. There are no limits on potential operators. All they need to do is pay a $10,000 application fee and pay a 6 percent tax on revenue.
We’ll keep an eye on this legislation and see if it succeeds.
Online Poker and Gambling Laws in Nebraska
Historically, Nebraska has been pretty strict when it comes to gambling. Things slowly opened up over the years though. Before 1934, all gambling was illegal. Then the state amended its constitution to legalize horse racing. In 1958, Nebraska legalized bingo games. Raffles and lotteries came along in 1967 and lottery legislation passed in 1993.
Gambling is covered in the state statutes. Statute 8-1101 defines gambling as:
“A person engages in gambling if he or she bets something of value upon the outcome of a future event, which outcome is determined by an element of chance, or upon the outcome of a game, contest, or election.”
“Chance” is the keyword here. Lots of states rely on this definition and could exclude poker since it’s been ruled to be a game of skill at the federal level. The statute later goes onto say:
“Gambling device shall mean any device, machine, paraphernalia, writing, paper, instrument, article, or equipment that is used or usable for engaging in gambling, whether that activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine.”
It continues to say how a computer can be deemed a gambling device. Click here to read the full statute.
Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in Nebraska?
There’s no PokerStars in Nebraska at the moment, but there might be in the future. The proposed bill that could legalize online poker doesn’t exclude any current operators from getting a license. In other states, the events of Black Friday have stopped PokerStars from getting a license. But if Nebraska goes ahead and legalizes online poker, you could see PokerStars making a comeback in the state.
For now though, you have a few alternatives. We’ve reviewed several PokerStars alternatives for players to play poker in Nebraska. Sites like Ignition Poker and Americas Cardroom that accept players from all 50 states and offer a lot of the same traits that players loved about PokerStars. Check out our full reviews below:
Legal Gambling in Nebraska
Nebraska has several forms of legal gambling that we mentioned earlier. Here they are in more detail:
Horse race has been legal in Nebraska since 1934. They’re open for bets, off-track and pari-mutuel bets. Nebraska currently has six different race tracks scattered throughout the state. Visit the Nebraska State Racing Commission website for their locations, race dates and all information about Nebraska race tracks.
The Nebraska State Lottery was established in 1993. It was the 37th lottery in the US. Pickle cards are also legal. Those are called pull-tab cards in most states. You must be 19 or older to buy a lottery ticket and only cash is accepted at licensed locations. The lottery netted $183.4 million for the state in 2018.
Unlike purchasing a lottery ticket where you need to be 19 years of age. You only need to be 18 to play bingo in Nebraska. Bingo is legal as long as it’s conducted by a licensed organization. Non-profits can fill out an application to receive a special permit for fundraising activities.
Indian casinos are allowed and legal in the state as long as they abide by the Indian Gaming Regularity Act. Nebraska has four Indian casinos. The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska owns two of them and the Santee Sioux Tribe own the other two.
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