A state senator proposes Nebraska voters decide whether the state should allow casino gambling.
Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber says casinos could generate revenue the state needs.
“What I’m trying to say is that people are concerned about property taxes, they’re concerned about water, they’re concerned about K-12 education, and Game and Parks and we don’t know how to get them the money,” Karpisek tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Here’s a way that people can voluntarily gamble and the money will go to those things that we talk about wanting to do.”
LR416CA spells out how money generated through casino gambling would be spent. Half the money would go toward property tax relief. A quarter of the money would fund public education, with 12% each going to the state Game and Parks Commission and water projects sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources. The remaining one percent would fund programs for compulsive gamblers.
Nebraska has a state-run lottery. It allows wagering on horse racing and it sanctions keno, but the state doesn’t allow casino gambling.
“I think it’s a little bit hypocritical, actually,” Karpisek says. “Because, well, some of it’s OK and some of it isn’t. Some of it depends on who is doing it. That’s why I put right in the constitutional amendment where this money would go and so there’s no question, just like the Lottery, it said where it was going to go and that’s what I tried to do with this.”
Karpisek adds that Nebraska’s neighbors allow casino gambling.
“If Nebraska was the first state to have gambling, I wouldn’t be bringing this. It’s in every state around us. We’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars every year to surrounding states.”
In 2004, Nebraska voters turned down two ballot measures on casino gambling.
A proposal in 2003 never made it to the ballot; thrown off due to technical problems.