04/05/2012 4:38PM

Nebraska Legislature passes Instant Racing bill


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – The Nebraska Legislature gave final approval to a bill authorizing wagering on historic races on a split vote Thursday morning. The bill would authorize the state’s racetracks to install the Instant Racing machines and gives the state racing commission the authority to oversee licensing and regulation.

The bill passed despite strong opposition from several members of the state’s unicameral legislature by a vote of 26-18, with five senators not voting. The bill was presented to Gov. Dave Heineman Thursday afternoon and he will have five business days to sign the bill into law or veto it. It is unclear which the governor will do.

The bill, introduced by Senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha, is seen as a way to finance the construction of a new track in Lincoln to replace Lincoln Race Course, which must vacate its current facility on the former state fairgrounds after this year.