Lincoln, Nebraska’s Warhorse Casino is preparing to open an in-person sports betting venue for 21 and older players. This development comes years after legal sports betting in Nebraska was approved, as the regulatory process has taken longer than in other states.
Once sports betting is given the go-ahead, it typically takes between four and twelve months before the sportsbooks begin accepting wagers. For Nebraska, that process has taken two years, as in-person sports betting was approved in 2021.
The Warhorse is expected to take its first sports bet near the end of May 2023.
Domestic sportsbooks will not be permitted to produce odds for betting on the Nebraska Cornhuskers or any other college or university located within state lines. That will wipe out considerable prospective revenue from betting on College Football, with wagers only allowed on teams from outside Nebraska.
There are currently hundreds of real money slot machines installed at the Warhorse that have been in operation since last September. There is also a lounge for betting on horse racing, with dozens of flat-screen televisions dedicated to races happening around the world.
There are plans in the works for sports betting in Omaha if the Warhorse can attain approval from the Nebraska State Racing and Gaming Commission.
“We’re looking at what we can do in Omaha. Our challenge is having an active construction zone while we offer sports betting. But we are looking at options right now.”
Lynne McNally, Vice President of the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association
States that only feature in-person sports betting remain susceptible to neighboring regions that regulate online and mobile sportsbooks. Colorado, Wyoming, and Iowa all permit mobile sports betting apps, and all Nebraskans need to do to legally access them is travel across the border and whip out their smartphone.
This option is much more convenient than traveling to Lincoln for most bettors in NE and will continue to send money to out-of-state sportsbooks.
There are also many offshore sportsbook sites in existence that have been accepting players from Nebraska for years. These online betting sites have no restrictions placed on any teams, meaning that folks inside of Nebraska can gamble on Cornhusker odds for football and basketball games.
With those two external options considered, sports betting revenue expectations are tepid at best. Of course, that can change if the legislature agrees on approving mobile and online sports betting in NE.
Lawmakers are likely waiting to see how these retail sportsbooks get up and running before moving forward, and as we’ve already seen, they’re incredibly patient.