Gambling opponents are ready for a long, hard fight.
The Legislature fired the first shot on Wednesday, voting 31-16 to put a casino gambling constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot. It needed at least 30 votes to pass.
“They just fed us to the lions, honey,” said Pat Loontjer, director of anti-gambling group Gambling With the Good Life. “It’s a very sad day for the state of Nebraska.”
Loontjer said she was ready to educate Nebraskans about what she believes are the negative effects of gambling. One lawmaker, Sen. Lowen Kruse of Omaha, returned a pledge to the group saying he would do anything he could in the effort to defeat expanded gambling on the ballot, Loontjer said.
The Legislature’s plan would allow for two casinos anywhere in the state. Where those would be would be worked out later, but many expect at least one to be in Omaha. Slot machines would not be allowed anywhere outside the casinos.
It also would allow the state’s four American Indian tribes to contract with the state.