In the American state of Nebraska and a trio of signature drives have reportedly been launched that could soon result in local voters being given the chance to decide whether to legalize commercial casino gambling.
According to a Tuesday report from local television broadcaster KPTM-TV, the campaigns are being organized by a group calling itself Keep the Money in Nebraska and are seeking to amass enough names so as to have three constitutional referendums placed on the jurisdiction’s upcoming November ballot.
The broadcaster reported that the first of these petitions is requesting permission to ask voters for consent to change an existing statewide prohibition in order to bring games of chance such as slots to horseracing facilities already running in the Nebraska communities of Hastings, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus, Omaha and South Sioux City.
KPTM-TV reported that the second campaign is asking for the right to get the electorate’s approval to establish the Nebraska Gaming Commission licensing and regulatory authority. The broadcaster cited the text of the petition in explaining that this seven-member body is envisioned as consisting of five figures from The Nebraska State Racing Commission alongside two governor-appointed individuals all serving five-year terms.
The final appeal is reportedly hoping to be able to ask voters for permission to institute a tax regime on the envisioned non-tribal casino facilities that would involve operators paying a 20% duty on their annual gross gaming revenues. The broadcaster detailed that this proposal is furthermore calling for 75% of this eventual windfall to go to the state with the remainder being set aside for the county in which the gambling-friendly facility is located.
KPTM-TV reported that the first of these campaigns will require at least 130,000 individual signatures to make it onto the November ballot with the remaining pair each set to need an additional 85,000 names. The broadcaster pronounced that Keep the Money in Nebraska now has until July 2 to hit its obligatory marks in hopes of being able to help ‘The Cornhusker State’ realize up to a projected $85 million in additional annual tax revenues.
Mike Newlin, General Manager for the local Horsemen’s Park horseracing venue, reportedly told the broadcaster that he is in favor of the referendums because Nebraska is losing out on tax revenues. He purportedly estimated that the Midwestern state’s coffers have suffered to the tune of approximately $8.8 billion over the course of the last 25 years as residents travel to Iowa where they can enjoy action at facilities such as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City from Hard Rock International and Penn National Gaming Incorporated’s Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs.
Newlin reportedly told KPTM-TV…
“That’s a lot of money leaving the state. If we get casino gambling passed, we would like to institute a 20% tax with 70% percent of that tax being earmarked for the property tax relief fund.”