When will sports betting launch in Nebraska?

The launch date for legal sports betting in Nebraska is still unclear, but all signs point to sometime soon.

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission published the approved rules for betting on sports, but it didn’t announce an official launch date.

Licensed casinos in the state that wish to provide legal sports betting must still apply for and be granted vendor licenses for whichever company will run their sportsbooks. The commission will also have to inspect and approve the equipment used for wagering.

What’s happening in Nebraska sports betting?

June 1, 2023 — Nebraska has again pushed its go-live date into the future after missing its planned Memorial Day launch. The newest reported potential date for launch is June 24, the start of the College World Series.

May 5, 2023 — WarHorse Gaming has announced plans to construct a new gaming facility in Omaha while continuing to build its Lincoln facility.

February 1, 2023 — Nebraska Racing and Gaming Executive Director Tom Sage said sports betting technically became legal in Nebraska when the Secretary of State’s Office published recently approved rules. However, the state still lacks the infrastructure for casinos to take any bets.

October 21, 2022 The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission unanimously votes to approve rules for betting on sports.

May 27, 2021 — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signs LB 561 to legalize in-person sports betting at approved locations. 

March 18, 2021 — The Nebraska Legislature approves a bill that would permit retail sports betting but exclude online wagering. 

Potential Nebraska sportsbook apps

As of now, rules and regulations for sports betting in Nebraska do not allow online or mobile wagering. However, if that changes, there are a few online books that could look to stake their claim in the Cornhusker State and begin offering online sports betting promos. Here are some of the top candidates:

Nebraska sports betting law

While the rules regarding sports betting in Nebraska have yet to receive final approval, the proposed legislation is very specific about the what, where and how for sports betting in the state. Sports betting will be available only at approved racinos, and people must place wagers in person at sports betting kiosks at the approved locations.

Legal sports betting options in Nebraska

At the moment, there are no legal options for sports betting in Nebraska. Some offshore sportsbooks may suggest that wagering on sports is legal in Nebraska on their websites, but those sites are operating outside of US laws, and there would be no legal recourse for bettors to recoup unpaid winnings or account balances should the sportsbook close.

DFS providers such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Monkey Knife Fight allow Nebraska residents to play daily fantasy sports contests on their platforms. 

Casino gambling in Nebraska

There are five tribal casinos in Nebraska located on Native American reservation land as well as one racetrack and casino, the WarHorse Casino at Lincoln Race Course. The WarHorse became the state’s first racino when it opened in September 2022. 

WarHorse offers 433 slot machines and simulcast betting on horse races. It has plans to offer sports betting as soon as it is able.

Horse betting in Nebraska

Horse racing and horse betting are legal in Nebraska. Bettors can wager live at the track, through simulcast betting or online or via app.

There are six tracks in Nebraska with live dates for 2023. Each of these racetracks reportedly intends on becoming a racino and adding sports betting facilities once able:

Simulcast betting is available at Fonner Park, Horsemen’s Park and Lincoln Race Course.

Nebraska and daily fantasy sports

All of the major daily fantasy sports providers accept contest entries from within Nebraska. The daily fantasy sports space is a legal gray area in the state, as the language in state law does not specifically forbid or allow daily fantasy sports.

Companies like DraftKings and FanDuel do accept paid entries from within the state and are likely to seek licenses to operate as retail sportsbooks in the future. There have been multiple attempts over the past few years to get daily fantasy sports regulated and taxed within the state, though none of that legislation has passed.

Nebraska surrounded by legal sports betting

While people in Nebraska do not have a legal avenue to wager on sports at the moment, five of the six states that border Nebraska allow sports betting in some form.

Omaha, which contains nearly a quarter of the population of the state of Nebraska, sits on the Iowa border. Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019.

Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas also border Nebraska and have legalized sports betting. South Dakota, to the north, also allows sports betting, but only at casinos located in the city of Deadwood.

Missouri is the only state that borders Nebraska where sports betting remains illegal, but it is not for a lack of trying. Missouri had several active sports betting bills at the beginning of 2022, but lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on any of them.

Most popular sports to bet on in Nebraska

In Nebraska, all allegiances to sports teams come secondary to the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Huskers football team is the most popular team in the state and would likely bring in the biggest betting handle of any events based in Nebraska, but in-state bettors will not be able to wager on their beloved Huskers based on the recently approved sports betting rules. 

There are no professional sports teams in the state, so loyalty to pro teams tends to focus on teams located in neighboring or nearby states.

In the NFL, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are two of the more popular teams in Nebraska. Both teams are located in neighboring states and have had some recent successes.

The Kansas City Royals, Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs are three of the most popular MLB teams in Nebraska. The Cubs are also owned by the family of Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. 

In the NBA, the Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls are two of the most popular teams.

Nebraska sports betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Nebraska?

Yes, but there is no way for in-state bettors to place a wager at the moment.

Once the rules that the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission has approved go through a vetting and approval process — which is likely to take at least several months — the state will require bettors to place wagers in person at approved casinos or “racinos” — racetracks that have implemented casino-style gambling and sports betting. 

Who will be able to bet on sports in Nebraska?

Anyone 21 or older and inside Nebraska will be able to wager on sports in the state, provided, for now, that they are placing their wagers at one of the designated racinos. While some select activities — lottery and pari-mutuel wagering — require players only to be 18 or older, most gambling options in the state mandate that you be 21 or older.

Who oversees sports betting in Nebraska?

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission oversees all gambling in the state, including sports betting.

What can I bet on in Nebraska?

At the moment, there is no way for Nebraska residents to legally place wagers on sports within the state. Some offshore sportsbooks may accept wagers from bettors within Nebraska, but these books are operating outside of US and state law, and there is no legal recourse for a bettor to recoup unpaid winnings or account balances should such a sportsbook close.

Bettors can wager on horse racing at one of the six racetracks within the state or go to one of the five tribal casinos for slot machines and simulcast betting on horse races.

Where can I bet on sports in Nebraska?

There are currently no legal options or locations to bet on sports in Nebraska. Each of the six in-state racetracks has plans to offer sports betting in the future, but the legal process is still potentially months away from completion. 

Can I bet on sports on my phone in Nebraska?

There are no legal options for mobile sports betting in Nebraska at this time.