Legislative authorization of gaming stalls

After briefly debating the issue March 2, senators voted to indefinitely postpone a proposal that would allow the Legislature to authorize gaming in Nebraska. The vote ended further action on the proposal.

Currently, the Nebraska Constitution specifically prohibits the Legislature from authorizing any additional games of chance. Gaming can be expanded in Nebraska only through constitutional amendment.

LR10CA, introduced by Columbus Sen. Paul Schumacher, would place a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2016 general election ballot that would allow the Legislature to authorize and regulate any other game of chance, lottery or gift enterprise.

Schumacher said the proposal would not implement any new games of chance, but simply would allow the Legislature to authorize gaming in the future if senators choose to do so. The Legislature has broad regulatory powers, he said, and voters should be able to decide whether gaming should be included in those powers.

“This is a very simple proposition to let the people decide,” Schumacher said.

Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy offered the motion to indefinitely postpone the measure, saying decisions on expanded gambling should remain with the voters and not the Legislature.

“I believe it should stay with a vote of the people, because that’s where we’ve had it for all these years,” McCoy said.

The motion was adopted on 27-16 vote, ending consideration of the measure for the session.

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