Nebraska casinos generate over $2.6 million in revenue from first year of legal sports betting

Industry

One year after Nebraska legalized sports betting, the state’s casinos have generated over $2.6 million in revenue from the activity. The initial wagers were placed last June at the WarHorse Casino in Lincoln and, since then, the popularity of sports betting has grown significantly.

Josh Lubrano of the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission (NRGC) commented: “There’s a buzz. People like to talk about it when they go place wagers, and that buzz just creates more buzz.”

Currently, Nebraska has four operational casinos in Grand Island, Columbus, Omaha, and Lincoln. WarHorse Casino has been particularly successful, accounting for 80% of the more than $1.7 million in profits reported to the NRGC since the beginning of 2024.

Jason Johnston, Sportsbook Manager at WarHorse Casino, noted sportsbooks have tapped into a local market of bettors who previously had to cross state lines to wager. However, this is still the case for Husker home games, which are not eligible for betting from inside the state.

“A lot of people drive into Council Bluffs to wager on Nebraska home games,” Johnston said, as per KOLN. “We’d love to keep revenue in that state. Nebraska has a very passionate fanbase.”

The economic benefits of sports betting extend beyond the casinos. All reported profits are subject to a 20% tax by the NRGC, with 70% of this tax revenue going to the Property Tax State Relief Fund, which helps lower property taxes for homeowners across Nebraska.

WarHorse locations in Lincoln and Omaha are undergoing expansions. Johnston explained the future plans, saying: “It’s not only going to be a resort, but a great experience for patrons to come in and have a great viewing experience. They’ll be able to play tables and slots. Hopefully, we’ll have mobile sports betting approved by then, so patrons can place a bet from their phone while at the bar.”

Although mobile sports betting through apps like DraftKings and FanDuel is not yet legal in Nebraska, Johnston and others in the industry see it as a crucial next step. “It’s the future of sports betting,” Johnston said, as per KOLN. “It’s a great opportunity, not just for WarHorse, but for the people of Nebraska.”

The timeline for legalizing mobile sports betting depends on the actions of state legislators. Both WarHorse and the NRGC are optimistic about its potential, viewing it as essential for further growth in the industry.

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