Lawmaker argues Nebraska gets burden, not benefit of casinos

A state lawmaker argues that Nebraska should allow casinos, because it is shouldering the burden of gambling without the payout.
State Senator Paul Schumacher of Columbus tells the legislature’s General Affairs Committee that Nebraska residents are gambling at casinos, only they cross the border and gamble in Iowa, or other neighboring states that allow casinos. Schumacher points out that two-thirds of Nebraskans live within a 50-mile drive to casinos in Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.
Schumacher has heard the social arguments that condemn the evils of gambling, but tells the committee that shouldn’t be used as an argument to keep casinos out of Nebraska.
“To the extent there are social evils and there may be. There may be a poor man’s tax. There may be problem gamblers. There may be related social evils. We have those,” according to Schumacher. “The other states are getting the gold. We’re getting the shaft.”
The General Affairs Committee is reviewing an interim study that examines gambling revenue that leaves the state. It also is considering a study on simulcast horse racing in Nebraska.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this report.