New Casino Rules Proposed

Nov. 12, 2021, midnight ·

Cover page of proposed casino rules
Cover of proposed casino rules

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Rules for how casinos in Nebraska should be run have been drafted and scheduled for a public hearing, but it could be some time yet before casinos will be open.

The rules proposed by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission cover everything from how cash should be handled at gaming tables to whether smoking will be permitted inside the casinos – it won’t. There are sections dealing with handling equipment and taxes, and training employees on how to recognize compulsive gambling and human trafficking. And there are rules about who can be involved in owning and managing the casinos, which will be located at the state’s racetracks, and who can be excluded.

All this will be subject to a public hearing by the commission on December 17. Commission Executive Director Tom Sage said commissioners could vote that day to approve the rules. That has to be done before any applications to start a casino can be accepted. But Sage said he doesn’t know when they will be actually begin operating.

“That’s almost an impossible question for me to answer, because it’s out of my hands,” Sage said.

Sage said it would take 45-60 days to process applications, but he could not say how long it will take the attorney general and the governor to complete their required review of the rules before that process can start.

Lynne McNally of the Horseman’s Benevolent Protective Association said after a license is granted, a Lincoln casino could be operating in six months, and an Omaha casino in a year. Racetracks in Columbus, Grand Island, South Sioux City and Hastings have also indicated they will apply, and new racetrack/casino operations have been proposed for Bellevue, York, Norfolk, North Platte, Gering and Kimball.