Introduction to Nebraska Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019
Nebraska slot machine casino gambling consists of 21 gambling centers. These are keno locations owned by Scotts Bluff County, racetracks, and an American Legion Post as well as four American Indian tribal casinos offering 700 video gaming machines. None offer slot machines, but rather video bingo, video keno, and/or video poker gaming machines.
The state of gambling in Nebraska is one of the most perplexing of any U.S. state. The Nebraska legislature has defined games of chance and gambling very differently from other states, exacerbated by the lack of a gaming commission to establish clear gaming regulations.
No limits for payout returns have been legally set. However, annual reports on payout return percentages can be calculated from revenue reports available from the state.
This post continues the weekly blog series Online Resource: State-By-State Slots Gambling Summaries, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambling enthusiasts to success. Each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or federal district.
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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Nebraska*
The minimum legal gambling age in Nebraska depends upon the gambling activity:
- Land-Based Casinos: 21
- Poker Rooms: 21
- Bingo: 18
- Lottery: 19
- Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 19
What is unusual about gambling in Nebraska is how the state legislature has chosen to define it. The Nebraska legislature states that all forms of gambling are illegal. They have identified games of chance as being gambling.
However, they have been very selective when identifying what is and is not a game of chance. For example, Nebraska law does not define the state lottery, racing, bingo, keno, pickle cards, and more as games of chance.
Under this interesting and unusual interpretation of games of chance and gambling by the Nebraska legislature, there truly are no legal forms of gambling per state law. By most other states accepted definitions of gambling, however, gambling does exist.
If you’d like to play a typical electronic gaming device such as video keno, video poker, or video bingo, then there are about 21 locations in Nebraska that offer them. Most other states would call these locations casinos, but not Nebraska. Why? Because gambling is illegal in Nebraska.
Further, there is a close but less-than-clear connection between Nebraska’s gaming centers and tribal gaming. For instance, both bingo and pickle cards are divided up into two types: Class I tribal ceremonial games and Class II competition-style games.
*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws apply to various forms of gambling. This information is not intended to provide legal advice.
Slot Machine Private Ownership in Nebraska
It is illegal to privately own a slot machine in the state of Nebraska.
Gaming Control Board in Nebraska
Nebraska does not have a state gaming commission, other than a Charitable Gaming Division within the Nebraska Department of Revenue. While normally irrelevant to our interests as slot machine casino gamblers, in Nebraska it is where gaming revenues are.
These Nebraska gaming revenues are divided up into Keno, Pickle Cards, Bingo, and Lottery/Raffle. Total dollars wagered in the last full fiscal year was over $280 million. It’s worth mentioning that nearly 88% of this revenue came from Keno. Another 7% came from Pickle Cards with the remainder roughly split between Bingo and Lottery/Raffle.
The Charitable Gaming Division currently offers:
- 2017 Charitable Gaming Annual Report
- IRS Publication 3079L Gaming Publication for Tax-Exempt Organizations
- Keno Tip Line
- Gambling Assistance Program
The Keno Tip Line at 877-Tip-Keno (877-847-5366) is an excellent example for Nebraska’s need of a state gaming commission as well as state gaming regulations. With this tip line, the Division asks you to call if you suspect any wrongdoing, including:
- A player allowed to bet on credit
- Keno workers playing keno while on duty
- Minors (under age 19) allowed to play keno
- An irregularity in the winning number selection process (ball draw)
Further, the Division states this tip line is the first step to help them make sure all keno games are operated fairly. Why? Because it really is the first step without having state gaming regulations in place to protect keno players within the state of Nebraska.
There have been attempts to establish a state gaming commission. In 2004, an initiated state statute was proposed which, if it had not been defeated by 52.78% of those voting, would have created a Nebraska Gaming Commission to regulate gaming.
This was called Measure 420, or alternatively the Nebraska Gaming Commission and Casino Regulation Initiative. The measure would have permitted communities to authorize games of chance and the use of gaming devices at casinos, racetracks, and establishments that sell liquor on the premises.
Established in 2010 is a private organization called the Nebraska Gaming Commission. This online resource admits to having no affiliation with the Nebraska government or the U.S. federal government.
With the lack of a state-run gaming commission, this private organization offers gaming resources for Nebraska gamblers, including
- Basic Info: For example, where to report a violation
- Tax Info: For example, where to get various gambling-related tax forms
- Legal Info: For example, where to find regulations on operating a gambling device
- Other Info: For example, where to find state information on gaming
Casinos in Nebraska
There are 21 gambling centers in Nebraska. Of these, 4 are racetracks of which one has electronic gaming machines. Another 4 casinos are owned and operated by three American Indian tribes. The remaining 12 gambling centers are bars, taverns, or other small businesses, such as American Legion Post 32, throughout the state.
The largest casino in Nebraska is Ohiya Casino & Resort in Niobrara, having 190 gaming machines.
The second largest casino is Rosebud Casino in Valentine, having 250 gaming machines.
List of Casinos in Nebraska
The 13 non-tribal gambling centers include 5 county-owned keno locations and 8 other small businesses. The 5 keno locations owned by Scotts Bluff County in the towns of Scottsbluff, Mitchell, and Morrill are:
- Back of Rack’s Bar & Grill in Scottsbluff located 98 miles northeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 19 miles from the Wyoming-Nebraska border.
- Company Bar and Grill in Mitchell located 96 miles northeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 12 miles from the Wyoming-Nebraska border.
- Main Parlor in Scottsbluff located 98 miles northeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 19 miles from the Wyoming-Nebraska border.
- Redz Bar & Grill in Mitchell located 96 miles northeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 12 miles from the Wyoming-Nebraska border.
- Rustic Tavern in Morrill located 92 miles northeast of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 6 miles from the Wyoming-Nebraska border.
The 8 small businesses having electronic gaming machines in Nebraska are:
- American Legion Post 32 in Papillion located 13 miles southwest of Omaha.
- Brownies Watering Hole Keno in Papillion located 12 miles southwest of Omaha.
- Hastings Keno Bar and Grill in Hastings located 27 miles south of Grand Island.
- Hop House Bar and Grill in Papillion located 15 miles southwest of Omaha.
- Jerzes Sports Bar & Keno in Papillion located 16 miles southwest of Omaha.
- Ralston Keno in Ralston located 8 miles southwest of Omaha
- Rosebud Casino in Valentine located 140 miles north of North Platte on the South Dakota-Nebraska border. Note that Rosebud casino is physically located 300 feet inside South Dakota, but has its legal address in Valentine, Nebraska located 10 miles from the South Dakota border.
- Winners Lounge and Keno in Omaha.
Nebraska’s 4 racetracks, only a few of which offer electronic gaming machines, are:
- Fonner Park in Grand Island with its Fonner Keno Casino and Sports Lounge located 147 miles west of Omaha.
- Horseman’s Park in Omaha.
- Lincoln Race Track in Lincoln located 67 miles southwest of Omaha.
- Platte County AgPark in Columbus located 91 miles west of Omaha.
List of Tribal Casinos in Nebraska
Nebraska has 4 tribal casinos operated by either the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, which owns two of them and one each by the Omaha (Umonhon) Tribe of Nebraska and the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska.
Nebraska’s 4 tribal casinos are:
- Iron Horse Bar & Casino in Emerson located 24 miles west of Sioux City, South Dakota and 9 miles from the South Dakota-Nebraska border.
- Lucky 77 Casino in Walthill located 26 miles south of Sioux City, South Dakota and 9 miles from the Iowa-Nebraska border.
- Native Star Casino in Winnebago located 20 miles south of Sioux City, South Dakota and 6 miles from the Iowa-Nebraska border.
- Ohiya Casino & Resort in Papillion located 87 miles west of Sioux City, South Dakota and 4 miles from the South Dakota-Nebraska border.
Other Gambling Establishments
As an alternative to enjoying Nebraska slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state.
Nebraska is bordered by:
- North: South Dakota Slots
- East: Iowa Slots and Missouri Slots
- South: Colorado Slots and Kansas Slots
- West: Colorado Slots and Wyoming Slots
Each of the links above will take you to my state-specific blog for that bordering state to Nebraska.
Further, the Prairie Flower Casino, an Iowa tribal casino in Carter Lake, opened in November 2018 in the Scotts Bluff area less than half a mile from the Iowa-Nebraska border and just north of Omaha. This casino opened despite legal challenges from the state legislature in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Payout Returns in Nebraska
No payout return limits are available for electronic gaming machines in Nebraska. Actual gaming statistics for Keno is available for the fiscal year. Annual reporting of gaming revenues shows gross earnings and number of licensees by county.
However, these annual reports also show total gross wagered and business expenses paid out in prizes. Therefore, we can calculate an annual payout return percentage for each game type.
The state-wide annual statistics for the fiscal year ending June 2017, the latest available report, are:
- Bingo (Class I games): 77.0%
- Bingo (Class II games): 63.1%
- Bingo (Total): 65.8%
- Pickle Cards (Class I games): 75.7%
- Pickle Cards (Class II games): 71.0%
- Pickle Cards (Total): 71.9%
- Keno: 76.6%
- Lottery/Raffle: 31.5%
Summary of Nebraska Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019
Nebraska slot machine casino gambling consists of 21 gambling centers many of which offer mostly video keno. Of these, three are racetracks without electronic gaming machines and four are tribal casinos. The remainder
The Nebraska legislature has defined games of chance and gambling very differently from other states, exacerbated by the lack of a gaming commission to establish clear gaming regulations.
No limits for payout returns have been legally set. However, annual revenue reports from which payout return percentages can be calculated are available from the Nebraska state government for bingo, keno, pickle cards, and lottery/raffle electronic gaming machines.
Annual Progress in Nebraska Slot Machine Casino Gambling
In the last year, one non-tribal casino closed in Nebraska, specifically the Sugar Club in Scottsbluff. However, another keno location opened by Scotts Bluff County called Redz Bar & Grill in Mitchell. Further, the total number of electronic gaming machines in Nebraska’s tribal casinos dropped from around 900 machines to nearly 700 machines.
2017 Archive: Nebraska Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2017 – Nebraska slot machine casino gambling consists of 21 casinos that offer 900 video gaming machines such as video keno and video bingo for slots enthusiasts. Nebraska has not yet established a state gaming commission. Therefore, no publicly available monthly reports on payout percentage returns are available.
Related Articles from Professor Slots
- 11 Things You Need To Know About American Indian Tribal Casinos – Tribal gaming is involved, even sophisticated, in terms of legal, regulatory, political, and economic factors. It’s one of the least understood segments of the U.S. gaming industry. This summary article on American Indian tribal casinos helps slot machine casino gamblers better understand the tribal casinos they visit.
Other State-By-State Articles from Professor Slots
- Series: Online Resource: State-By-State Slots Gambling Summaries – Now in its second year, this series is an online resource dedicated to slot machine casino gambling enthusiasts. It provides 56 weekly, detailed gambling summarizes covering each U.S. state, territory, and the federal district to capture dynamic changes occurring of late in the U.S. gaming/gambling industry specific to slots play.
- Previous: Montana Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019 – Montana slot machine casino gambling consists of 1,418 small businesses with up to 20 video gaming machines and 8 tribal casinos with Class II or Class III games. Overall, the businesses have 18,544 video slots, keno, and poker machines with an 80% lower payout return limit while video slots have an upper limit of 92%.
- Next: Nevada Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019 – Nevada slot machine casino gambling currently consists of 168 casinos with 73 in Las Vegas and 2 being tribal casinos. The minimum payout return limit is 75%. Payout return statistical summaries are comprehensive and available online. Over its 80-year history, Nevada has been the global leader in gaming regulations.