Nebraska’s most well-known city is also one of the most well-known versions of poker, however casino-style gambling is not abundant in the state. If we are being honest, there isn’t a whole lot going on in Nebraska. A major contributing factor to this is the fact that there are not many people and, as a result, not very many large population centers. Without those two factors, there isn’t a major market for gambling. In addition to this, gambling at casinos is considered to be illegal if it isn’t at one of the state’s 3 Native American casinos.
Though Nebraska is the home of loads of rich casino history, especially from the 1800s, that is not the case today. In fact, it does not look Nebraska’s casino laws are going to be changing anytime soon. The simple fact of the matter is that the 39th of 50th states as far as population is concerned is not going to be seen as a lucrative gambling destination, and there is no real push to change this.
Iron Horse Bar
Native American/Tribal Casinos
As it stands, the only type of casino that is available in Nebraska are those that sit on Native lands. The reason why these casinos exist while those that are owned and operated by private companies cannot is thanks to a Federal Act that was passed in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, Nebraska casinos are not able to offer a wide array of games like what you might find in Las Vegas. So even though the state’s casinos may look and feel like the casinos on the Vegas Strip, they are lacking in a number of different key ways.
Nebraska Casino History
The history of casino gambling in Nebraska can be traced back to the 1800s, when folks moving out West founded the town. At that time, the town of Omaha was a hotbed of all things illicit. Whether it was the thriving prostitution industry or the many bars that fueled the town’s heavy drinking, Omaha quickly evolved into a gambling town. In fact, towns like Omaha back in the 1800s are a major contributing factor to why people nowadays associate all types of gambling with other illicit activities.
The casino industry in Omaha and other parts of Nebraska did well for the next few decades, however it always had ties to illicit organizations and figures. Eventually, the state did away with almost all forms of gambling. In the 1930s, Nebraska moved to legalize pari-mutuel betting at racetracks, but nothing more than that. This remains the case until the early 2000s, when it was decided that slot games would be legalized.
To this day, slots are the only type of casino gambling that can take place in Nebraska. So, while there are 3 large casinos across the state, the only type of gambling that takes place there comes in front of a slot machine or video poker machine. When it comes to traditional table games, those do not exist at the present moment. As we look towards the future, the honest opinion of experts is that Nebraska is not going to legalize any other type of gambling at any point in the near future. With millions and millions of potential revenue dollars streaming over the border to gamble at Iowa, it seems almost unfathomable that Nebraska is so conservative with regard to their approach to gambling, but that is exactly the case.
In addition to the casinos the state has, there are 6 racetracks where pari-mutuel gambling is available. Unfortunately, the most recent reports indicate that the racetrack industry in the state is on an almost steady decline.