(Population of 1.882 million as of 2014)
When it comes to the iGaming conversation, Nebraska isn’t a state you hear mentioned much. There’s good reason for that as gambling opposition litters the Cornhusker State's history. In fact, all forms of gambling were illegal up to 1934, which is when they allowed pari-mutuel horse racing. Today, Nebraska still allows racing along with a lottery and some Tribal casinos that offer gaming machines and bingo.
As for poker, even charity events and home games that offer prizes or require an entry fee are considered illegal. The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission even addressed Texas hold’em tournaments in general:
“Players in Texas Hold'em tournaments cannot be charged ANY FEE or be REQUIRED to give anything of value (consideration) as a condition of participation. In other words, players MUST be able to participate in a Texas Hold'em tournament for FREE or no prizes (reward) can be given in the tournaments.”
The state constitution forbids games of chance, and unfortunately poker falls under that category. In early 2016, lawmakers shot down a bill, sponsored by sponsor Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, that would have classified poker as a game of skill.
Unfortunately, many other Senators did not agree and argued that gambling expansion in any form would ultimately hurt the state.
“We’re going into very dangerous territory here by slowly and surely peeling away that which makes us great,” said Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft. “I think this is chance. I’m not willing to bet Nebraska’s future on expanded gambling.”
Late in 2016, the Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson signed a letter (with 10 other attorney generals) to Vice President Mike Pence to roll back the Wire Act. Nebraska attorney generals have had a track record of signing these types of letters in the past couple of years.
Don’t expect to see iGaming come to the state any time soon.