While gambling on sports, cards, or in casinos will always be an issue in Nebraska, horse racing looks to have escaped those trappings. There are several major tracks operating in the state as well as many OTBs featuring simulcasting.
Gambling on the horses is also allowed online with sites such as TwinSpires and BetAmerica open for business in Nebraska in 2020.
Legal Horse Betting Sites in Nebraska
The Nebraska Legislature has not specifically addressed advance deposit wagering, which enables residents to bet on horse races by phone or online, but some ADW sites have taken the view that the state’s pari-mutuel wagering laws are sufficient to operate in the state. The only sites we could find are:
- XpressBet.com (with some restrictions)
Horse Racing Gambling in Nebraska
All forms of gambling were illegal in the Cornhusker State under the state Constitution until 1934, when pari-mutuel gambling at pari-mutuel horse racing at licensed race track enclosures was carved out. Bingo games, raffles, lotteries and gift enterprises for charitable and community betterment purposes were later exempted, as was simulcasting of horse races.
Nebraska also is home to five tribal casinos in Carter Lake; Emerson; Niobrara; Walthill; and Winnebago.
Nebraska has a long history of live horse racing that continues – despite the demise of the state’s best known track – Ak-Sar-Ben.
The track was opened in 1919 by the charitable group the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backwards) who were dedicated to “turning Nebraska around,” and closed in 1995.
The track, which at one time in the mid-1980s was 10th busiest in the nation, with daily attendance of up to 25,000 and betting $2 million per day on weekends, was demolished and has since been redeveloped.
Still carrying on the tradition of live racing with short thoroughbred meetings in 2019/2020 are:
- Fonner Park in Grand Island
- Lincoln Race Course in Lincoln
- Horsemen’s Park in Omaha
- Columbus Exhibition and Racing in Columbus
Fairplay Park in Hastings was scheduled to hold a one-day quarter horse meeting at a time still to be determined.
— Fonner Park Racing (@FonnerRacing) November 30, 2019
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