04/08/2014 10:26AM

Instant Racing to be on November ballot in Nebraska


LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Legislature on Monday afternoon advanced a proposed constitutional amendment to the November ballot that would allow the state’s racetracks to allow gambling on historical races through Instant Racing terminals.

Bill LR41CA, sponsored by Omaha Senator Scott Lautenbaugh, would alter the language in the state’s constitution to allow wagering on “live or replayed” horseraces. Parimutuel wagering was approved and written into the state’s constitution in the 1930s.

The resolution came up for a final reading on April 3 and fell one vote short of the 30 needed to advance from the legislature to the ballot. Lautenbaugh filed a motion to reconsider, which was heard and passed Monday. The ensuing vote to advance the amendment passed by a 30-17 margin with two senators not voting.

The amendment will be put to the state’s voters in November’s election and is considered a way to bolster the state’s racing industry, which is scheduled to run just 51 live days this year, down from 91 days just three years ago.

Lincoln Race Course opened at a new location last fall and has plans to develop a one-mile oval in southwest Lincoln. The boost that Instant Racing would bring could provide the funding to restore the several weeks of live racing in the state lost when Lincoln Race Course was forced out of its former location by the legislature’s decision to turn over that state-controlled land to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.