Gambling Bills Dead For This Year

LINCOLN — A bill supporters said would regulate fantasy sports betting in Nebraska is dead for this year.

The bill’s sponsor sent a letter Friday to Speaker of the Legislature Galen Hadley asking that the measure not be on Monday’s agenda as planned, or on the agenda for the rest of the legislative session, Hadley said.

“It’s the senator’s prerogative to do that,” Hadley said, and he honored the request.Introduced by O’Neill State Sen. Tyson Larson, Legislative Bill 970 was a “Christmas tree bill” involving fantasy sports contests, raffles on weather events, keno and pickle cards.

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers said test votes showed the proposal didn’t have the required 33 votes for cloture, which allows a vote on whether to advance the bill.

Chambers last week vowed to filibuster the bill for six hours during first-round debate. About an hour and a half of first-round debate remained.

The bill would expand gambling in Nebraska, said Chambers and other opponents.

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Chambers vows to kill three-part gambling bill that would define fantasy sports as games of skill

LINCOLN — Omaha State Sen. Ernie Chambers has vowed to “run the clock” by filibustering a “Christmas tree bill” involving fantasy sports contests, raffles on weather events, keno and pickle cards.

During first-round debate Thursday, Chambers said Legislative Bill 970 is gambling — “pure and simple.

“If you favor more gambling, even if you pass this bill you won’t get it, because I assure you it is unconstitutional,” he said.
The Nebraska Legislature adjourned before voting on a motion by Chambers to indefinitely postpone, or kill, the bill. Debate could resume Tuesday.

As amended by the Legislature’s General Affairs Committee, the bill rolls three measures into one.

O’Neill Sen. Tyson Larson, the sponsor of LB 970, defended its multiple subjects, saying it was necessary during the short legislative session.

“This really is in essence of time to make sure these important issues can get done,” he said.

The measure would define fantasy sports contests as games of skill and require fantasy sports operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, to pay a $50,000 registration fee and annual $10,000 renewal fee.

To be legal in Nebraska, a game must be predominantly a game of skill rather than of chance.

The bill would include customer protections such as requiring fantasy sports operators to verify that participants are at least 18, and prohibiting third-party auto drafters.

The bill also includes a measure originally introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango that would allow nonprofit groups to use lotteries and raffles based on the timing of naturally occurring weather events.

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