New Nebraska bill will legalize sports betting, poker

Nebraska is ready to join several other states across the U.S. who allow have expanded their gambling laws. This could happen hanks to the new Games of Skill Act (LB990) filed by State Senator Justin Wayne. This new bill will make it legal for people to wager on sports, fantasy sports, and poker.

This new bill classifies these three activities as skill-based games. Thus, it would make them legal in the state.

By passing this bill, Nebraska would become the seventh state to legalize online poker, joining such states as New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and West Virginia. While not specifically mentioning online activities, other news outlets are reporting that Wayne has openly claimed that the intention of this bill was to allow online versions of these games as well.

Under its current writing, stud games would not be considered games of skill. According to the bill, only draw games and games that use community cards would be designated as “games of skill.” This could lead to some alterations to the bill before it is officially voted on by the legislature.

Regarding poker, the bill contains certain language that will dictate what games are considered to be “games of skill.” It reads, in part:

“Certain poker games also require knowledge and skill. While poker does have a random component in the cards that are dealt to participants, there is more skill than chance necessary for successful participation in a game where strategic decisions influence the other participants and ultimately the outcome of the game.”

Later in the bill, certain games of skill are specifically named, including draw poker games such as five-card draw, Texas hold ‘em, and Omaha.

Nebraska does not allow for gambling currently and they are one of 25 states in the union that do not have a commercial casino. They are the home to just a few tribal casinos.

Last year, a petition was filed looking to change that. This put the idea of a commercial casino on the ballot for 2020. Proponents of the bill have argued that a large number of Nebraskans cross the border to gamble in other states, and with Iowa now allowing sports gambling, the situation can become drastically worse for Nebraska.