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Governor signs bill allowing casinos to remain open during fairs

Lawmakers voted 35 to 7 back on April 15 to approve the bill and send it to the governor’s desk.
Lawmakers voted 35 to 7 back on April 15 to approve the bill and send it to the governor’s desk.(WABI)
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 3:19 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Governor Pete Ricketts has signed a bill that will allow Nebraska casinos to remain open during county fairs and the Nebraska State Fair.

Back on April 15, lawmakers voted 35 to 7 to approve the bill and send it to the governor’s desk. He signed the bill on Wednesday, April 21.

LB371 provides for games of chance at licensed racetracks in Nebraska that are located near fairgrounds to operate at the same time as a fair.

State law prohibits gambling and a number of other activities within 660 feet of a state, district, county or agricultural fair and provides exceptions.

LB371 adds games of chance under the Nebraska Racetrack Gaming Act to the current list of exceptions.

The issue became relevant after voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to allow casinos at state-licensed horse-racing tracks.

The measure was introduced by state Sen. Ray Aguilar, of Grand Island, whose district includes a horse-racing track that will have the Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park and the Nebraska State Fair. Without the measure, any casino at that location would have to close when the fair is open in late August and early September.

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