LINCOLN — A gambling bill that would protect fantasy sports contests, allow raffles on weather events, and let keno players use debit and credit cards is headed to the floor of the Nebraska Legislature.

On Friday the Legislature's General Affairs Committee prioritized an amended version of Legislative Bill 970, which was sponsored by State Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango.

As amended by the committee, the bill now lumps three bills into one. The provisions are:

• Fantasy sports. The bill would define fantasy sports contests as games of skill, allowing winners to receive cash on bets.

As amended, the bill would require fantasy sports operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, to pay a $50,000 registration fee and annual $10,000 renewal fee.

The fee isn't intended to apply to private contests held among friends or coworkers.

Fantasy sports operators must also verify that participants are at least 18.

• Weather events. The bill would allow nonprofit groups to use lotteries and raffles based on the timing of naturally occurring weather events for fundraisers.

The bill would specify that the raffle is for weather, and not other events that could be naturally occurring, such as the first touchdown of a football game.

• Keno. The bill would allow keno players to use debit and credit cards instead of just cash for games.

The committee struck part of the bill that would have sped up keno lotteries. Under the bill, the wait time between keno games would remain at five minutes.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581,

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