Nebraska Gambling Laws

Nebraska Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in Nebraska?

Nebraska gambling laws allow Native American casino gambling, charitable gaming, horse racing, and the sale of lottery tickets. While these disparate gaming interests are modest in comparison to states like Nevada or Montana, Nebraska could be considered a pro-gambling state, since it allows several forms of legalized gambling.

Nebraska Poker Law

How can poker players participate in real-money versions of the game they love and still remain within the boundaries of Nebraska law? If you've read our other state guides, you know that most states in America generally offer players at least some way to play real-money poker legally. California poker law, for instance, lets you play real money poker not only in licensed commercial settings, but also in private games (given that certain conditions are met).

In Nebraska, however, all of the common ways to play games of poker for real money appear to in one way or another violate the state law regarding gambling. So why is this the case?

It all starts with the way Nebraska defines what it means to gamble. If you read Section 28-1101 of the Nebraska state code (subsection 4), you'll see that just the presence of an "element of chance" can lead an activity to be considered gambling. With poker containing at least an element of chance - the shuffle of the cards, the unknown cards to come - it clearly falls under the scope of Nebraska's definition of gambling.
Now that in and of itself isn't enough to render all poker illegal in Nebraska. Many states - such as Iowa - define poker as gambling, but nonetheless offer legal ways for players to take part. Where Nebraska deviates from those states is that you'll find no such exemptions in Nebraska poker law. There's no commercial casino gambling in the state and tribal casinos appear restricted from offering poker (or have chosen not to do so for economic reasons). While there are legal forms of charitable gambling in Nebraska, poker is not among the approved games. And the last haven for poker players - the so-called "social gambling" exception - is nowhere to be found in Nebraska gambling law.

What it all adds up to is one of the least forgiving environments for real-money poker players, who are left with apparently zero choices that clearly comply with state law within Nebraska's borders.

Is Casino Gambling Legal in Nebraska?

Nebraska's state government has a gambling compact with a number of Native American Tribes, allowing for several Indian casinos in the state. These arrangements conform to the wording of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the controversial law which was passed by the United States Congress in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court decision stipulating that Native American reservations should be considered sovereign territory when it comes to housing gambling casinos.

The Nebraska Gaming Commission is the regulatory arm of the Gaming Control Board. The Gaming Commission was established in 2010 to regulate the Native American casinos, assuring compliance with the gambling compact. The Nebraska Gaming Commission's website offers easy to find information on most aspects of gambling law in Nebraska, including an faq which discusses gambling devices, bingo, keno, amusement devices, and pickle cards in their own frequently asked questions. This gaming commission also oversees the following four casinos.

Ohiya Casino and Bingo in Niobrara has a 100 seat bingo hall and 200 video gaming machines, along with the Ohiya Restaurant. The bingo hall also acts as a conventional space, while the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Iron Horse Bar & Casino in Emerson houses 120 electronic bingo games, including the Iron Horse Restaurant. The Lucky 77 Casino in Walthill has 64 electronic bingo machines. The Native Star Casino in Winnebago has 95 video gaming machines, along with the Rock River Grille Restaurant.

Learn About Other State Laws

Nebraska Charitable Gaming Laws

The Nebraska Charitable Gaming Division regulates all charitable gambling in the state. This include bingo games, charitable lotteries, raffles, pickle cards, and the city and county keno lottery games.

Is Horse Racing Legal in Nebraska?

Nebraska's horse racing laws currently allow 6 horse tracks, including the Horseman's Park in Omaha, Columbus Races in Columbus, the Hastings Fairplay Park in Hastings, Horsemen's Atokad Downs in South Sioux City, Lincoln Race Course in Lincoln, and Fonner Park in Grand Island, Nebraska. Fonner Park allows off-track betting and simulcast viewing, along with games of keno. All other horse tracks have a race book, but no other gambling.

The Nebraska Horse Racing Commission is the regulatory authority for each of these six horse tracks. The commission licenses all trainers, jockeys, and horses in the state. The commission also oversees parimutuel betting, sets race dates, and licensing standards.

Nebraska Lottery Laws

Nebraskan lottery laws include gambling on a variety of weekly drawings and pickle games. The weekly drawings include the 2x2 Lottery, Pick 3, Pick 5, and MyDay Lotto games. Lotto players also can buy tickets for the multistate lottery games like Powerball and Mega Millions. Also, people can enjoy the "pickle games", which are a local name for scratch games.

Nebraska Government and Gambling Laws

Nebraska takes the stance that its citizens should have the freedom to gamble, though they want to regulate that gambling in the public interest while collecting non-tax revenues from this gaming activity. That's why Nebraska has four different regulatory agencies: the Nebraska Gaming Commission, Charitable Gaming Division, Horse Racing Commission, and State Lottery Corporation.

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