Nebraska Sports Betting Launch Delayed, Lincoln, Columbus Casinos Hopeful to Be Live for CWS

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Casino operators in Nebraska missed their Memorial Day target to launch retail sports betting and have now circled mid June and the arrival of the College World Series in Omaha as their go-live date.

For the sake of both college baseball and the casino/racino operators who will take bets, they should hope for more delays.

Because sports betting and college athletics in general and baseball, in particular, have not been very good for each other recently. And mitigating optics as they overlap at college baseball’s marquee event is likely not something the NCAA or gambling operators are going to want at big moments for both.

College-World-Series-betting

College and Sports Betting Controversies, Bad Looks Update

  • Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired in May after it was determined that he fed insider information to an Ohio bettor. Those bets were subsequently flagged by Ohio sports betting regulators.
  • Coach Scott Goggins resigned and two other University of Cincinnati baseball coaches were fired because they didn’t disclose information about the Alabama bets, which were placed, according to Sports Illustrated, by a parent of a Bearcats baseball player. If true, this would reduce the scope of college baseball’s gambling problem, but this nuance is likely to be lost on a general public that will notice only that two sports betting scandals hit the sport within weeks.
  • This was no isolated incident anyway, according to the man in charge of knowing such things. NCAA vice president of enforcement Jon Duncan told SI that such cases are “spiking,” adding, “You can throw a net and get any number of schools [committing sports wagering violations]. They’re hot right now.”
  • Underscoring the point, more than 40 Iowa and Iowa State student-athletes and staffers were suspended for illegal betting activity.
  • With backlash against sports betting companies affiliating with college athletic departments mounting, PointsBet announced in March that it was severing its relationship with the University of Colorado. The deal was the first of its kind and spawned upwards of seven more with other universities.
  • Caesars announced it was ending a similar deal with Michigan State recently and is expected to do the same with its LSU partnership.
  • A study released by the NCAA asserted that 58% of college students aged 18-to-22 have bet on sports, although most of that group is too young in most jurisdictions to do so legally.

Nebraska Lacks Sports Betting Framework for Launch

Nebraska sports betting will be retail only at racetrack casinos. WarHorse Casino Lincoln couldn’t open its betting windows and flip on its kiosks this weekend as it awaits vendors, according to KETV. Betting could begin at a temporary Harrah’s facility on June 12, however.

“Sports betting, as you know, is a relatively new industry in the United States. And there are many jurisdictions trying to go live at the same time — we’re just one of quite a few that are trying to go live. … We’re having to kind of stand in line a little bit, but it’s not going to be long and we’re going to be licensed and ready to go,” Lynne McNally, executive VP of Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, told KETV.

It’s been a slog to launch sports betting in Nebraska. The enterprise was approved by the state legislature in 2021 and became officially legal with the approval of rules in February, but the state still lacks human and material infrastructure to support a system that would allow for wagering casinos and racinos like WarHorse Lincoln, which is about 50 miles from Omaha. Wagering on college sports is legal in Nebraska.

The CWS is slated to begin on June 16.

In-state college-betting-rules-by-state

 

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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