Of all the plains states, Nebraska is the least dependent upon gambling and legal real money poker betting as a source of tax revenue. And although lawmakers have made several attempts to expand Nebraska, the Cornhusker State’s, real cash gambling operations, they have all failed to make significant headway, ultimately forcing gamblers and real money poker fans to take their poker betting business elsewhere outside of NE.

Yet for the longest time, the state’s great city of Omaha was a bustling wide-open mecca of gambling and lawful real cash poker betting activity. The corruption that ensued from legit poker betting operations and other gambling may have caused Nebraska’s gambling lawmakers to rethink their legal gambling stance, and likely accounts for the Cornhusker State’s hesitant attitude towards gambling expansion and real money Internet poker websites offering popular games like Texas Hold’em poker.

Whatever the case, real cash poker betting is not regulated in any form in NB, and it’s exceedingly unlikely that an iGaming Internet poker act will pass through Nebraska legislature anytime soon.

Wagering on a real money US poker site is not impossible for gamblers in The Cornhusker state. Signing up for an account can be done in a few minutes.

Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Casino Gambling, Again

Nebraska State Senator Russ Karpisek is making one last push to legalize commercial casino and real money poker gambling in Nebraska [1]. This, after several prior attempts at getting legit poker betting of the ground have fallen on deaf ears.

In the latest lawful poker betting and real cash gambling proposal, the majority of tax revenue generated by Nebraska’s casinos and real money poker rooms would go towards educational funding, water conservation interests and the Nebraska Game and Parks commission. Karpisek argues that the state of NB could benefit from the real money that is being lost to casinos and real cash poker betting facilities in neighboring states that gambling NB citizens have to go to, particularly Iowa – where commercial gambling and real money poker betting is legal.

Unfortunately, most feel that Karpisek’s legal poker and casino gambling proposal will likely be met with strong opposition, rendering the possibility of passage minimal, at best.

However, the Ho-Chunk Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska have expressed optimism, citing that it’s more a question of when, not if gambling and legit real money poker expansion is approved in Nebraska [2]. Of course, the Ho Chunk’s opinion may be biased, as it recently revealed plans for a $30 million casino and real cash poker venue in South Sioux City.

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Can Players From Nebraska Play Online Poker?


The one place where real money poker players in NB won’t face anti-gambling opposition is online when they play games like Texas Hold’em Internet poker. In fact, all real cash online poker websites that we recommend on Poker Sites US are more than welcoming to Nebraskans wanting to do a little real money poker gambling. Creating an account at Internet poker websites is no more difficult than applying for a credit card. The only difference being that as long as you enter valid information, you’re guaranteed to be approved. So why travel across Nebraska state lines, in hopes of finding a live real cash poker betting room, when you can spend five minutes signing up online and be taking part in real money Internet poker in NB in seconds?

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Is Online Poker Legal In Nebraska?


Make no mistake: Nebraska’s legal real cash gambling law makes no allowances for poker players both offline and at Internet poker websites. That said, not once do the NB state’s statues address the issue of online gambling and Internet poker, or the Internet in general. Thus, the legality of real money online poker websites for NB players remains a murky question mark, largely left up to interpretation.

While we can’t provide a black and white answer to the aforementioned question of whether Internet poker is legal in NB, what we can do is offer insight into Nebraska’s gambling and poker betting laws, particularly the ones that might be applicable to online poker and Internet poker gambling:

  • Nebraska defines gambling as betting something of value, including real cash, upon the outcome of a future event, which outcome is determined by an element of chance. (Section 28-1101) Considering that the turn of a card in a real money poker game like Texas Hold’em poker can make or break your hand, real cash poker would undoubtedly fall under the scope of Nebraska’s gambling definition.
  • Unlike other states, which allow exemptions for commercial and social gambling, the Nebraska legal betting statues deem all forms of gambling illegal.
  • The penalties for promoting gambling and poker betting hinges on the amount bet. Players who wager less than three hundred dollars in any one day are guilty of promoting gambling in the third degree, betting more than three hundred dollars or more or raking in less than one thousand dollars as an illicit gambling operator is a second degree offense in Nebraska, while receiving over one thousand dollars of real money in the scheme or enterprise in any one day is a first degree violation. First degree offenders can be charged with a Class I misdemeanor for first offenses, and felony charges for subsequent violations. Real money poker players and other gambling game participants can only be charged with a Class II misdemeanor at worst.
  • In order to be convicted, players must knowingly realize that they’re playing in an illegal game in NB. (Section 28-1104) How player awareness of legal gambling is measured is not made clear.
  • Social and Internet poker gambling are not addressed in the statues.

The last two points raise some interesting questions, such as How could players know they’re participating in an illegal game, if the legality of the real money betting game format in question is unclear? It’s for this reason that online poker players at Internet poker websites in Nebraska are best served speaking to a professional before making their first deposit and starting to play real cash Internet poker.

To further review Nebraska’s revised gambling and poker betting statues, check out our “References” section [3].

The Facts

The History Of Gambling In Nebraska

Back in the days of the early settlers, gambling and poker betting quickly became popular among Nebraskans, particularly those residing in the city of Omaha, NB. Historical records tell us that from the moment the city was founded in the 1850s, and through the 1930s, gambling and legal real money poker betting was accepted as the Gateway to the West’s way of life. A large part of that had to do with Omaha’s wide-open legit real cash gambling policy.

In 1887 Nebraska state officials prohibited gambling houses and poker betting venues in Omaha, but like the Prohibition Act, all the ban did was push the real money poker gambling scene underground.

By the late 1800s, betting on horse racing found its way to Nebraska. Like other forms of real cash gambling, such as betting on Texas Hold’em poker games, horse racing was generally tolerated by law enforcement agencies in NB.

In the 1930’s the Italian mob made their presence felt in Omaha, leading to widespread corruption across the far from legal poker gambling scene. At first state officials ignored the growing mob presence, but by the 1970s they began legitimizing certain forms of gambling, if only to curtail illicit real cash gambling activities associated with crime.

Pari-mutuel wagering was legalized in 1935, although it wasn’t until 1986 that the Bluffs Run Greyhound Park would grant visitors the right to place legal real cash gambling bets. Then in 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act granted sovereignty to tribal nations residing in the US, permitting them to construct casinos and real money poker rooms within their reservations. But it wouldn’t be until over a decade later that the first tribal casino initiative would be approved. And even then, they were limited to bingo, slot machines and keno with no real cash poker betting available.

In 2010, the Nebraska Gaming Commission was established to regulate tribal casino and real money poker gambling activities, ensuring that Native American run casinos and real cash poker venues were in compliance with the legit gambling and betting laws of NB state.

If 1992 voters in NB authorized the passage of the State Lottery Act, and soon afterwards real cash gambling scratch-offs and lottery tickets became part of Nebraska’s gambling and betting culture.

Regulated Gambling Options In Nebraska

Nebraska’s real money gambling offerings are rather limited. In addition to pari-mutuel wagering, residents can purchase lottery tickets and try their luck at one of the NB state’s tribal casinos.

Charitable real cash betting and gambling in the forms of bingo, lotteries, raffles and keno are legal in Nebraska, but casino nights are not. In fact, no form of Las Vegas style table games and real cash poker betting are regulated by the state’s legislative arm.

Don’t expect the Cornhuskers in Nebraska, a sparsely populated state, to be too concerned about legalizing online poker, as it’s a small gaming market.

The Future Of Regulated Online Gambling In Nebraska

Despite NB Senator Karpisek’s staunch efforts, it’s unlikely that Nebraska will legalize commercial casinos and real money poker rooms anytime soon. Even then, the presence of brick and mortar casinos and poker gambling venues does not guarantee the passage of an Internet poker and real money gambling bill.

Overall, Nebraska treats Internet poker website gaming as a relative non-issue. It hasn’t gone as far as to consider banning real money Internet poker gambling in NB, as neighboring Kansas did, but government officials aren’t exactly making a case for it either. Expect this trend to continue, even as more states begin passing iGaming Internet poker bills and coming out with their own lawful real cash poker gambling websites.

At present, the best Nebraskans can hope for is a poker gambling bill that eventually lets them play real cash poker in live settings. Otherwise, look for Nebraska to stay clear of Internet gambling and poker websites, and possibly to opt out of a federal legal real money Internet poker bill.

In a more likely scenario, Nebraska’s gambling and betting offerings will be expanded to include electronic real money gambling and wagering on historic horse races [4]. An early legit gambling bill advocating this expansion has had some success. Admittedly, it’s a small step, but one in the right direction nonetheless.

Fun Fact

Shockingly, the exceedingly popular game of Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Eight or Better does not have roots in Nebraska. In fact, it’s not even a popular real money poker variant there at all. NB residents prefer Texas Hold’em poker.

Before there was PLO and O8, Vegas pros played a different variant of Hold’em called Greek or Omaha Hold’em real cash poker. Similar to traditional Hold’em in that poker gambling participants received two cards, Omaha Hold’em required that players use both face-down cards to make a hand. The game proved unpopular until Vegas introduced a four card version of the poker betting game, which for lack of a better term, became known as Omaha real money poker.

The Bottom Line

Even if Nebraska one day passed an iGaming Internet poker act, its population of fewer than 2 million could not sustain a healthy poker community because there aren’t enough people to make legal real money poker websites work. Case in point: Nevada’s poker websites, despite the state’s larger population and millions of annual tourists, are struggling to stay afloat in the Internet poker world.

Granted, Nebraska isn’t the least likely state to regulate online gambling and real cash Internet poker, but if we had to rank its chances, we’d place them well below average when it comes to the chances of NB opening lawful real cash Internet poker websites. It appears that Nebraska’s days of wide-open real money legal gambling are sadly over.


[1] Nebraska Senator Aims to Legalize Casino Gambling

[2] Ho-Chunk pushes for casino gambling in Nebraska

[3] Nebraska Legislature

[4] Nebraska Could See Gambling Expansion in 2014

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