In Nebraska, a pro-casino group that is collecting signatures in order to have a trio of referendums placed on the upcoming November presidential ballot has revealed that it is confident of success.
According to a report from local television station KMTV, Keep The Money In Nebraska began amassing names in the autumn after claiming that nearly $500 million leaves the state each year due to its residents gambling across the border in neighboring states such as Iowa and Missouri.
“I think with the passage of time, people have seen how we are just giving away so much revenue and so much business to the surrounding states because it’s literally all around us,” Scott Lautenbaugh from Keep The Money In Nebraska told KMTV.
The former Nebraska State Senator is part of a movement that wants voters to approve a measure to insert an amendment into the state’s constitution to allow “all forms of games of chance to be conducted with licensed horseracing”.
“Then there’s a follow up legislative proposal that provides for taxation of the revenue from it and then another that would set up the regulatory body for it to govern and approve the casinos,” Lautenbaugh told KMTV.
This could be the third time that Nebraskans are given the chance to vote in favor of expanded non-tribal casino gaming with previous ballot measures in 2004 and 2006 going down to defeat.
In order to make it onto the November ballot, Keep The Money In Nebraska must have collected signatures from 5% of registered voters in at least 38 of the state’s 93 counties by tomorrow afternoon and Lautenbaugh declared that he is certain the group will have amassed the 117,000 required names in time.
“We’re gathering signatures hand over fist with all the events going on,” Lautenbaugh told the Omaha World-Herald newspaper.
The Winnebago Tribe Of Nebraska has operated the Winna Vegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa, since 1992 and the successful passage of the referendums in November could see the federally-recognized tribe open a similar facility at Atokad Downs in South Sioux City, which was purchased by its Ho-Chunk Incorporated economic development wing in 2013. The group, which is listed as a sponsor of the Keep The Money In Nebraska initiatives alongside simulcast operator Omaha Exposition And Racing and the Horsemen’s Benevolent And Protective Association, would also be able to bid for the right to run equivalent venues at tracks in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Hastings and Columbus.
“The important thing for a lot of people is to keep the money in Nebraska,” Lautenbaugh told the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. “If we can save an industry as significant as horseracing, so be it.”