If Nebraska approves its sports betting bill before the end of its legislative session in June state gamblers will not be able to place bets on in-state collegiate programs.

The Nebraska legislature adopted an amendment to its bill, LB 561, on Thursday to ban sports betting on in-state collegiate programs in hopes of making the needed two-thirds majority vote more palatable. The in-state collegiate sports betting ban will keep gamblers from betting on the popular Nebraska University football program and Creighton University basketball.

Other states, such as Illinois and New Jersey, also ban sports betting on in-state collegiate programs. New Jersey, however, is exploring a possible amendment to repeal its ban on in-state collegiate sports betting with a vote in its 2021 general election.

No sports betting on in-state collegiate programs

Nebraska lawmakers approved the bill in mid-April. LB561 will be decided by a final yes or no vote before the state’s legislative session concludes in late June. If approved, the state’s horse racing tracks will be permitted to open retail sportsbooks and take sports bets. The final bill did not include online sports betting for the state and will only allow in-person sports betting inside brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at the state’s horse racing tracks.

Legislators rejected a similar amendment proposed by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-28) during last month’s approval of the bill. The amendment failed with a vote of 18-13, with 16 members choosing not to cast to a vote. Additionally, lawmakers voted down an amendment included in the bill that would have legalized online Keno in the state.

A date for the final vote on LB561 has yet to be set.

History of Nebraska sports betting

Nebraska voters approved three initiatives in the November 2020 general election to allow for a gaming expansion for the state’s six-licensed horse racetracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus and South Sioux City. Votes approved a change to the state constitution that allowed for slot machines and table gaming, as well as two initiatives to regulate casino gaming and tax casino gambling.

The approved initiatives did not include language for sports betting, but lawmakers have since determined they can encompass potential retail sportsbooks in the state. While this news serves as a step in the right direction for those hoping to one day use their mobile devices or computers to place online sports bets, it appears the ability to do so remains a long way off, at least for the time being.