The gambling issue hasn't been put to a public vote in 12 years, but both sides say this is the closest it could be to happening again.
A group of Nebraska politicians current and former, including Governor Pete Ricketts and Former US Congressman Tom Osborne, gather with “Gambling for the Good Life” at the State Capitol on Thursday to oppose the effort to expand casinos into the state.
The organization says on average, states with gambling lose $90 million a year in tax revenue. But, they say, it goes beyond that at home.
"The reason I'm against casino gambling here in Nebraska is quite simple, it's bad for people if you look at the social effects of casino gambling you see increased child abuse or spousal abuse, and you just can't collect enough tax dollars to make up for it," Gov. Ricketts explained.
Petitions will be circulated for a ballot initiative. The constitutional amendment and statutes would allow horse tracks to own casinos, form a committee to oversee them, and make them give 20% of their revenue to local governments.
Scott Lautenbaugh with “Keep the Money in Nebraska” says the argument doesn't work because bankruptcies, divorces, and credit ratings are much better in Iowa than Nebraska.
“So either the social ills really don't follow or there already here because $500M of Nebraska dollars flow to gambling opportunities in other states every year, so we're just missing out on the revenue,” Lautenbaugh explained.
"Keep the Money in Nebraska" already has about $1 million raised for their effort. They say most of it from Ho-Chunk Inc., owned by the Winnebago Tribe.
“Gambling with the Good Life” says they're restarting the grassroots effort that was successful in 2004.
The petition has started online. The number of signatures they need varies but they have to be in by July 7th to be on the November ballot.
For more information on “Gambling with the Good Life” go to their website at: http://www.gamblingwiththegoodlife.com/
For more info on “Keep the Money in Nebraska” go to their website at: http://www.keepyourmoneyne.com/