After failing to collect enough signatures to have a pro-casino constitutional amendment placed before voters in 2016, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is reportedly set to launch a second campaign that would seek to bring casino gambling to ‘The Cornhusker State.’
Hoping to get question on 2020 ballot:
According to a Sunday report from the Sioux City Journal newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe’s Ho-Chunk Incorporated economic development vehicle is planning to partner with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association in a petition drive that would hope to put the question of casino legalization on the 2020 ballot.
The newspaper reported that the tribe would like to give Nebraska’s 1.9 million residents the chance to decide whether casino games and perhaps even sportsbetting should be legalized at the Midwestern state’s horseracing facilities such as its own Atokad Downs near South Sioux City.
First attempt proves unsuccessful:
The Sioux City Journal reported that the previous ballot petition attempt from Ho-Chunk Incorporated ended after Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale invalidated many of the collected signatures to leave the campaign some 40,000 names short of their 117,188 target.
New campaign seeking partners:
Lance Morgan, Chief Executive Officer for Ho-Chunk Incorporated, reportedly told the newspaper that the latest petition drive is likely to cost millions of dollars and that his organization has begun seeking financial partners.
Morgan to the Sioux City Journal…
“We’ve had several calls from people who are interested in partnering.”
Language to be decided over the winter:
Morgan also told the newspaper that his group is planning to finalize the language of the desired ballot question in partnership with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association over the course of the winter before starting the signature-collecting portion of the campaign next year.
Losing out to neighboring states:
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska owns and operates the WinnaVegas Casino Resort in nearby Sloan, Iowa, and reportedly estimated that the state of Nebraska looses approximately $500 million a year in tax revenues due to residents traveling to casinos in neighboring states, which also include Missouri, South Dakota and Kansas.