A group campaigning to bring non-tribal casino gambling to horseracing tracks in Nebraska has revealed that it is confident it will have collected enough signatures by a July 7 submission deadline.
According to a report from The Associated Press news service, the Keep The Money In Nebraska group has so far raised more than $1.1 million in order to have the issue placed before voters on the November ballot with spokesman Scott Lautenbaugh stating that response had so far been “more positive than we ever dared to hope”.
“We’re supremely confident we’ll gather a sufficient number of signatures but we’re going to keep running as if we’re behind,” Lautenbaugh told The Associated Press. “People understand our message and they’re tired of the status quo.”
Without divulging just how many signatures of support his group had so far collected, Lautenbaugh declared that Keep The Money In Nebraska plans to continue circulating petitions at summer concerts, sporting events and other public gatherings.
He stated that casino gambling would generate as much as $100 million a year in tax revenues for local and state governments that could help pay for bridges, roads, schools and property tax reductions.
In opposition, the anti-casino Gambling With The Good Life group has acknowledged that the issue will likely receive enough support to be placed on the ballot. The organization revealed that it now plans to build a coalition of churches, business leaders and concerned citizens to urge voters to reject the proposal in November.
Pat Loontjer, Executive Director for Gambling With The Good Life, asserted that two of the Midwestern state’s three Catholic dioceses had already agreed to participate as had Methodist and Jewish groups.
“Basically, every church in Nebraska will get the word out to vote no,” Loontjer told The Associated Press.
The drive to bring non-tribal casino gambling to Nebraska is being heavily backed by Ho-Chunk Incorporated, which is the economic arm of the federally-recognized Winnebago Tribe Of Nebraska. The tribe owns and operates the WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa, and wants to open a new casino at the derelict Atokad Downs in South Sioux City.
While pointing out that the state already hosts four Indian casinos including the Ohiya Casino And Resort in Niobrara, Lance Morgan, President and Chief Operating Officer for Ho-Chunk Incorporated, proclaimed that legalizing non-tribal casinos would create jobs and provide economic benefits in Nebraska, which is losing gambling revenues to neighboring states.
“Gambling With The Good Life always talks about the good life,” Morgan told The Associated Press. “Well, we’re not satisfied with good. We want to make Nebraska great again.”