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First bets are placed as sports gambling gets underway in Nebraska

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jun 22, 2023

LINCOLN, Neb (KMTV) — Nebraska voters passed a ballot initiative legalizing gambling in 2020 and the legislature laid out its rules in 2021.

But it wasn’t until Thursday afternoon that the state’s first sports book officially opened.

“It's one more avenue of entertainment and one that a lot of people do already. I apologize to the bookies out there, but I think it's gonna be one of those things that will be another tool for entertainment,” said Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc.

There are some things you will want to consider if you want to place a sports bet legally in Nebraska.

The first is where you make the bet.

While there are hundreds of online outlets that take sports bets, to do it legally in Nebraska that bet has to be placed in person.

With only one location authorized so far. That means if you want to bet, it has to be at the Warhorse in Lincoln. But the folks taking bets are hoping that changes soon.

“We project there will be sports betting revenue when it is all said and done of a few hundred million a year. That will probably grow by 8 or 9 times if it goes mobile so I think people are really gonna be into it,” said Morgan.

There likely won’t be a team pulling in more bets than the Cornhuskers.

Luckily you can bet on the hometown team but only when they are playing in another state.

“The only thing I would caution is, for some reason betting on Husker Home games is illegal I hope they change that next year,” said Morgan.

To no one’s surprise, the first bet placed in the Warhorse books was on the Huskers but it will still be a couple of months before we find out whether that first bet will be a winning one.

“Today is the 22nd of July, so I bet $220 on Nebraska against Minnesota and I got 8 and a half points. So hopefully I come back in here the day after the game and get my $400 and go home … or bet something else,” said David Anderson, a thoroughbred horse trainer and Vice President of the Nebraska HBPA.

Right now the bets are only being taken in Lincoln but Ho-Chunk says that they expect to get construction started in earnest on their Casino in Omaha soon.

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