Nebraska Casinos

Written by: Cliff Spiller, Online Casino and Game Expert
Nebraska Casinos & Gambling
  • Horseracing (1934), Bingo (1958), Keno (1985), Off-track Betting (1988), Lottery (1992)
  • $38 million
  • $160 million
  • 18 for racing and bingo, 19 for lotteries and keno
  • Nebraska bans smoking in all public places
  • All forms are illegal

There is very little in the way of Nebraska gambling. Horse racing, charity bingo, keno, and a state lottery are the only games legal in the state. There are four Nebraska racetracks that offer live horse racing. Simulcast betting is also permitted at these locations. Despite there not being any specific Nebraska casinos, the racetracks and other establishments that serve alcohol can hold live keno drawings. This makes them the closest you can get to a Nebraska casino location without leaving the state.

That is a drastic contrast from neighboring states, all of which have casinos. The closest casinos in the east part of the state are in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Players in the western part of the state will need to go to South Dakota or Kansas for casino action. The state lottery sells scratch-off tickets and lotto drawings.

Paying Gambling Taxes in Nebraska

OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos has gathered everything you need to know about paying gambling taxes straight from a Certified Public Accountant. Visit our exclusive Gambling Taxes Guide and learn how to report your gambling income.

Types of Nebraska Online Gambling Allowed

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Online gambling in Nebraska is illegal. While the state permits tracks to offer race books, this does not carry over to simulcast betting sites. Companies like TVG and TwinSpires are not licensed in the state.

Daily fantasy sports sites operate in Nebraska, although the games are not expressly legal. The companies claim that they are permitted because the activity is a game of skill. The state attorney general has not released an opinion that contradicts those claims. There is a bill pending that would define daily fantasy sports as a skill game. It has yet to gain a committee hearing.

Types of Live Nebraska Gambling

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  • All Casino Games: No
  • Horses: Yes
  • Lottery: Yes

There are only four types of live gambling that are legal in Nebraska: horse races, charity gambling, keno, and the state lottery.

Each type comes with their own laws and regulations to keep them in check. After you learn what types of gambling is allowed in Nebraska, you should check out the gambling laws to makes sure you are eligible to play or bet.

Nebraska Racetracks

There are four Nebraska racetracks that offer live horse racing. Each has an off-track racebook where players can place their bets.

The state still has not legalized casino games, so you will find no Nebraska racinos at these tracks. For keno games, players need to go to an establishment that serves alcohol.

Charity Gambling

Charities may offer bingo, keno, and raffle drawings. These charities must be registered as legitimate charities with the state in order to be allowed to have these Nebraska casino events.

Closest Thing to Nebraska Casinos

Restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol, as well as convenience stores may have keno drawings. Keno is a popular “luck” casino game, that can even be found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos.

This is as close as residents will get to having Nebraska casinos within their state borders until legislation approves casino gambling.

Nebraska State Lottery

The Nebraska Lottery may sell scratch-off tickets and number drawings. This includes multi-state lottos like Powerball and Mega Millions.

Nebraska gambling laws

Nebraska gambling laws are very strict. Any gambling expansion in Nebraska requires a constitutional amendment, including a statewide referendum. Most attempts to expand gambling in Nebraska fails. According to Nebraska gambling laws, most gambling crimes are misdemeanors for first offenders. The exception is gambling debt collection, which is a Class III felony.

Racetracks are legal in Nebraska, where racebooks are legal in the state. Only horses may compete on the racetracks. The only requirement for a racebook is that the venue offers, at least, one race day each year. Racetracks and off-track betting operations must be licensed by the Nebraska State Racing Commission.

The state lottery may only offer two types of games. Scratch-off tickets and lotto drawings are the only two permissible activities. The Nebraska Lottery may join interstate drawings, and it does. This includes Powerball and Mega Millions. Lottery tickets may not be sold over the Internet.

Businesses that hold a liquor license may operate live keno games, making them the only “Nebraska casinos” in the state. Keno operations may use electronic devices to determine the winning numbers. Video keno machines that mimic video poker devices are not legal. Keno establishments must be approved through a local referendum. Keno may only operate during hours when it is legal to sell alcohol, which is typically no later than 2 am. There is a two percent tax rate on keno proceeds.

The minimum gambling age in Nebraska is 18 years for betting on horses and playing charity games. Minimum Nebraska gambling age is 19 years for players that want to buy a lottery ticket or play keno for real money.

Smoking is not allowed in any establishment where gambling is legal. The law only exempts tobacco shops and hotel rooms.

List of Nebraska Racetracks

There are four Nebraska racetracks in the state. Each of these locations has a racebook where gamblers can place their bets. There are currently no official Nebraska casinos, as the state has not yet legalized casino gambling; this may change in the future. You can easily locate any racetrack using our interactive Nebraska casino map & racetrack guide.

Columbus Exposition and Racing – ColumbusThoroughbred822 15th Street
Fonner Park – Grand IslandThoroughbred700 East Stolley Park Road
Horsemen’s Park – OmahaThoroughbred6303 Q Street
Lincoln Race Course – LincolnThoroughbred7055 South 1st Street

There are dozens of charitable and municipal gambling operations in the state. These places spread bingo and raffle games. Many bars in Nebraska offer live keno drawings, making them the closest thing to a real Nebraska casino as residents can get without leaving the state.

History of Nebraska Gambling

Nebraska casino history

All forms of gambling were banned under the Nebraska Constitution until 1934. That is when live horse racing was legalized through a constitutional amendment. Charity bingo was legalized in 1958. The first keno operation launched in 1985. Off-track betting was added to the racing enterprises in 1988. Voters approved a state lottery in 1992.

Keno is the most controversial form of gambling in Nebraska. Some cities and counties have refused to permit the activity. Multiple attempts to expand keno into video gaming devices have failed.

In January 2016, keno players figured out a random number generator and hit for about $150,000 at a restaurant in St. Mary. This was not the first time keno was a problem in Nebraska. Employees of a keno operator were accused of stealing $100,000 in 2005.

With such a rocky gambling history, Nebraska casinos expansion does not look good for the near future. However, with neighboring states having a thriving gambling scene, Nebraska casino gamblers can always go there to play casino games and more.

Nebraska Casino & Gambling FAQ

What is the minimum gambling age in Nebraska?

The minimum Nebraska gambling age is 18 years for horse racing and charity games, and 19 years for lotteries and keno.

Is horse racing legal in Nebraska?

Live racing and simulcast betting are legal in Nebraska.

In online horse racing legal in Nebraska?

No. Sites like TVG and TwinSpires are not licensed in the state.

Where can I play keno in Nebraska?

Many bars and restaurants offer live keno.

Are casinos legal in Nebraska?

No. Players must travel to Iowa, South Dakota or Kansas for casinos.

Are daily fantasy sports sites legal in Nebraska?

Fantasy sports contests appear to be legal in Nebraska.

Is online poker, casinos or sports betting legal in Nebraska?

None of these activities are legal in Nebraska.

Is Nebraska keno rigged?

There is some question about the randomness of keno drawing machines after players discovered a pattern in January 2016.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller Online Casino and Game Expert

Cliff Spiller is a global casino industry specialist who writes relatable content for beginners and experts. He's written gambling articles and online casino reviews at OUSC for over 15 years.

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