Legal sports betting isn’t on the Nebraska Legislature’s agenda this year.
But Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue has introduced a bill, LB 137, that would legalize, tax and regulate companies that operate daily fantasy sports sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel.
In fantasy sports, players draft their own “teams” from real professional sports rosters. Prizes are awarded based upon the collective statistical results of drafted athletes rather than on scores or points spreads of actual games.
The Nebraska Constitution prohibits betting on games of chance, with exceptions for lotteries, pickle cards and horse racing.
Several states have ruled that daily fantasy sports are a form of gambling, and thus illegal. The two sites have embarked on a state-by-state campaign to legalize it.
Sean Ostrow, a lobbyist for the daily fantasy sports industry, testified at a General Affairs Committee hearing March 4 that about 20 states have now passed legislation regulating the practice.
Blood’s bill would require Fan Duel, Draft Kings or any other operators to register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue, pay a fee of $10,000 for the first year, and then pay 6 percent of their annual revenue, up to $10,000, each year after that.
She agreed with industry representatives that daily fantasy sports is a game of skill, not chance.
“Managers of these games take into account a myriad of statistics, facts and game theory,” she said, according to the state legislative publication Unicameral Update.
Members of the Nebraska Family Alliance and Gambling With the Good Life, two groups that oppose expanded gambling in Nebraska, testified against it.