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How will Iowa casinos get impacted by Nebraska's legalization of gambling?

With Nebraska lawmakers figuring out how to regulate the casino gambling industry, Iowa casinos are about to face more competition to maintain their client base.
Posted at 6:06 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 21:43:25-05

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. (KMTV) - Rep. Brent Siegrist expects Nebraskans to embrace gambling in their home state. But that could potentially hurt Council Bluffs and its established casinos with its established products.

"I think our casinos will react to it probably by being aggressive with their marketing and things of that nature," Siegrist said.

Siegrist says a lot of revenue has been generated in Iowa from Nebraskans and it has brought a positive impact to Council Bluffs. Creighton University Economics Professor Ernie Goss has done research on the economic and social implications of sports betting.

"A lot of the sports betting, the casino betting that's going on in the Iowa casinos, those along Council Bluffs, come from Nebraska, so it will have a negative impact over there. There's little doubt about that," Goss said.

Casinos in a normal year pre-pandemic produce approximately $300 million in tax revenue for the state of Iowa. Siegrist estimates Council Bluffs casinos make up 20-25 percent of that. Goss says both Nebraska and Iowa need to look outside of their states to bolster their clientele.

"That's where you get a real positive bump, because obviously, casinos and betting have been very good for Nevada. Now the question is, what have they done for the cities and states where those individuals come from?" Goss said.

Goss is publishing research this summer in a law review journal about sports betting and what it does for overall betting and non-casino venues.