For two decades now, the group Gambling with the Good Life has been fighting efforts to expand gambling in Nebraska. The group is tied to religious leaders in the state and has followed the industry closely, trying to thwart efforts of gaming proponents at every turn. A new initiative by Ho-Chunk Inc. is now in the cross-fire of the group, as the opponents do not want to see any additional changes made by the Winnebago Tribe, or anyone else for that matter.
The Executive Director of the Gambling with the Good Life group, Pat Loontjer, stated that nothing is off the table and the group is going to fight tooth and nail against gambling expansion for their children and grandchildren.
Efforts by the tribe include the Keep the Money in Nebraska campaign, which is an initiative to try and gain enough signatures to place three gaming questions on the November 2016 ballot. If the questions are approved by the voters, the owners of horse racing tracks in Nebraska would be able to convert the gaming facilities into casino properties.
The Ho-Chunk Inc. group owns a property that was formerly a racetrack and would be able to benefit if their efforts succeed. There are five additional racetracks in the state that would also benefit. It is presumed that the same games would be made available to every tribe, including the Winnebago, Omaha, Ponca and Santee Sioux Tribes.
The Santee Sioux tribe, Omaha and Winnebago tribes all offer Class II gaming as the state has not approved negotiations for the tribes to offer Class III gaming. The Ponca Tribe does not currently offer gaming options.