As a poker playing living in Nebraska, whenever you want to play poker you are forced to travel to the neighbour state Iowa. This is not bad for the economy in Iowa, but for the residents of Nebraska this is much less convenient.
For all poker fanatics of Nebraska it would be much more convenient if they were able to play in their own state as oppose of traveling for hours to another state.
However if you look at the political sphere in Nebraska right now, it doesn’t seem this situation will change any time soon.
Last May legislators proposed the legislative Bill 679, which supported the legalization of poker in the state of Nebraska. If this bill passed, there would be a possibility for many brick-and-mortar poker rooms to open in the state.
Unfortunately this bill didn’t make very far last year. The state attorney general was not very fond of allowing games of ‘luck’ in the state of Nebraska.
Generally, there is a difference on how poker games are perceived. Poker Texas Hold’Em is often perceived as a game of skills mainly because it involves community cards and Draw poker games are often seen as games of chance or ‘luck’, with a minimal need of skills.
For that reason it will be difficult to pass a bill that legalizes all poker games including draw poker.
The good news is that the legislators that first proposed the bill have decided to revise it and only include poker cards that are played with community cards, excluding in that way draw poker games.
They hope that after revising the bill it will be reconsidered by the opposition. Many states have difficulty in recognising poker both online and offline as a game of “skill”. For non-poker players it is hard to see poker as a game of skill and not only luck.
Senator Tyson Larson was the person who initially proposed Bill 619. If approved, locations with a liquor license would be able to host poker rooms.
This bill encountered a lot of opposition, one of them is the Executive Director of the Gambling with the Good Life Organization, Pat Loontjer said:
“Enough is enough. We have gambling here. We have horse racing. We have keno. We have the lottery. We don’t believe that expanded gambling helps families or businesses”. Addressing himself to Senator Larson he said: “stop bringing up these gambling bills that take up so much time and usually go down in defeat.”
On the other side, senator Tyson Larson likes to look at the benefits this legalization could offer. He sees a legalization of poker rooms as a way to address property tax relieve. According to Omaha.com, he said the following on this matter:
“Here’s an opportunity, an outside-the-box opportunity, to show … that we take these things seriously, help our local communities in their fundraising efforts, give money back to the local counties and cities into the property tax credit relief fund.”
We still don’t know for sure if poker games will be legalized in Nebraska in 2016 but it certainly seems like senator Larson won’t give up easily.