An anti-gambling group wants historic horse racing thrown off the November ballot.
Gambling with the Good Life Executive Director Pat Loontjer says the group has filed a lawsuit, contending the issue placed on the ballot by legislators violates the state constitution.
“We feel that it’s blatantly unconstitutional. It violates the single-subject rule and it needs to go,” Loontjer tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Loontjer contends the proposal asks voters two questions: whether a new form of gambling should be approved and how proceeds from the races should be spent. The state constitution limits ballot issues to one subject.
“By constitution, you can only ask the voter one question at a time. This paragraph, in ballot language, is asking at least two questions and really many more.”
State legislators placed the issue on the ballot. It would allow betting on historic horse races at the state’s five licensed tracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Grand Island, and Columbus. Historic horse racing replays videos of past races with enough information withheld to conceal the outcome.
Loontjer insists the legislature put too much into one measure.
“It’s asking the voters to say yes to expanded gambling, in the form of horse slots, and also it’s asking the voters how the money should be spent if there is any moneys left,” according to Loontjer. “And that’s two subjects. It needs to be split into two different questions.”
Supporters of the measure see it as vital to keeping horse racing viable in Nebraska.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this article.