LINCOLN – The Nebraska horse racing industry lost its gamble on a bill to allow betting on old horse races Tuesday.
Backers of Legislative Bill 1102 failed to get enough votes to cut off a filibuster against the proposal. State lawmakers voted 30-13 on a motion to end debate. The motion needed 33 votes to succeed.
The measure would have allowed people to bet on past races, using machines that resemble video lottery terminals down to the flashing lights and sounds.
Bettors could have chosen from among 200,000 to 300,000 races stored in the machines. Bettors would be given information about each horse’s past performance but not the names of the horses or the dates, places and times of the races.
The machines would only have been allowed at racetracks.
Supporters, like Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha, argued that Nebraska’s horse racing industry will die without an infusion of money.
He expressed frustration with senators who say they support the industry, yet balk at proposals to help out the industry.
"We have these things on life support and we won’t do anything to save them," Lautenbaugh said.
Opponents argued that the proposal amounts to allowing slot machines in the state. An opinion released Tuesday by the Attorney General’s office bolstered their arguments.
The opinion concluded that LB 1102 likely goes beyond what is allowed under the State Constitution.