Gambling with the Good Life has come out against three initiative petitions to expand gambling in Nebraska.
Executive Director Pat Loontjer says the group will campaign against a constitutional amendment that would allow casinos throughout Nebraska as it did successfully in 2004 and 2006.
“So, it’s been ten years since we’ve launched a full statewide campaign to oppose a ballot issue,” Loontjer tells a news conference at the state Capitol. “But, this year we are facing a million dollar campaign funded by the Winnebago tribe to change our constitution and will allow unlimited casinos throughout the state.”
The two other petitions would create a commission to regulate casino gambling and outline how the taxes generated by casinos would be distributed.
Petitions are circulating in the state, seeking the signatures necessary to place the issues on the ballot.
Former Congressman and Husker Football Coach Tom Osborne will work with the group against the ballot initiatives.
“Gambling has a fallout which affects lots of people who are relatively innocent,” according to Osborne. “So, if you have somebody in your family who is addicted to gambling, it affects everybody else in the family and particularly children.”
The governor is also throwing his weight against the measures.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says Nebraska doesn’t need casino gambling.
“Now the reason I’m against casino gambling here in Nebraska is quite simple: it’s bad for people,” Ricketts says. “If you look at the social effects of casino gambling, you see increased child abuse, increased spouse abuse, increased embezzlement. You can’t collect enough tax dollars to make up for it.”
The group pushing the petitions, Keep the Money in Nebraska, says Gambling with the Good Life has cost the state money by opposing expanded gambling, estimating that $500 million leaves Nebraska each year for gambling in neighboring states.
AUDIO: Gambling with the Good Life news conference. [15 min.]