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New guardrail offered for Nebraska’s problem gamblers



More than 400 slot machines are lit up and ready go at the WarHorse Casino and Race Track in Lincoln.The first bets could come as early as Saturday morning.”We are so ready to go. I can’t wait to open,” said Lynne McNally, executive director of Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Society.But McNally said not everyone is welcome.”For that very small percentage of people for whom it’s a problem, we don’t want your business,” McNally said.To help fight the temptation, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission launched a self-exclusion portal.People can voluntarily sign a form that excludes them from gambling in Nebraska.They can choose a one-year, three-year five-year or a lifetime ban. The exclusion can not be removed, only extended.People who sign up are put on a list that is checked upon entry to the casino.”Everyone who goes through here has to go through the Veridocs System. It’s an ID system. The moment you turn over your ID, if you’re on the self-exclusion list, we will know immediately,” McNally said.Iowa has had a similar self-exclusion program for nearly two decades. “Serving as a deterrent, we think this program has worked exceptionally well,” said Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.Ohorilko said Iowa doesn’t card everyone entering a casino. And it only has a five-year and lifetime exclusion. “Currently have a little more than 8,000 people that have participated in the program,” Ohorilko said.Nebraska’s program has been set up just a few days and already has a half dozen people signed up. Expanded gambling critics applaud the state’s effort. “We hope that it will be used and implemented effectively and appropriately,” said Nebraska Family Alliance Policy Director Nate Grasz.But Grasz said more needs to be done.”The reality is their entire business model is reliant upon exploiting the poor, financially desperate and the addicted,” Grasz said.McNally said the horsemen and HoChunk Inc. helped write some of the gambling guardrails into law and 2.5% of tax revenues are earmarked for problem gamblers.”Now there are the resources to help these people,” McNally said.”It’s about keeping the money in Nebraska but it’s also being a benefit to the community, not a detriment,” McNally said.The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon. The commission is expected to grant the first permanent operating license to the Lincoln facility.McNally said if that happens, the casino plans on opening its doors at 10 a.m. Saturday.Sports wagering will not be allowed. The commission still has to establish rules and regulations which have to be reviewed by the attorney general and approved by the governor before that can occur.

More than 400 slot machines are lit up and ready go at the WarHorse Casino and Race Track in Lincoln.

The first bets could come as early as Saturday morning.

“We are so ready to go. I can’t wait to open,” said Lynne McNally, executive director of Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Society.

But McNally said not everyone is welcome.

“For that very small percentage of people for whom it’s a problem, we don’t want your business,” McNally said.

To help fight the temptation, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission launched a self-exclusion portal.

People can voluntarily sign a form that excludes them from gambling in Nebraska.

They can choose a one-year, three-year five-year or a lifetime ban. The exclusion can not be removed, only extended.

People who sign up are put on a list that is checked upon entry to the casino.

“Everyone who goes through here has to go through the Veridocs System. It’s an ID system. The moment you turn over your ID, if you’re on the self-exclusion list, we will know immediately,” McNally said.

Iowa has had a similar self-exclusion program for nearly two decades.

“Serving as a deterrent, we think this program has worked exceptionally well,” said Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Ohorilko said Iowa doesn’t card everyone entering a casino. And it only has a five-year and lifetime exclusion.

“Currently have a little more than 8,000 people that have participated in the program,” Ohorilko said.

Nebraska’s program has been set up just a few days and already has a half dozen people signed up.

Expanded gambling critics applaud the state’s effort.

“We hope that it will be used and implemented effectively and appropriately,” said Nebraska Family Alliance Policy Director Nate Grasz.

But Grasz said more needs to be done.

“The reality is their entire business model is reliant upon exploiting the poor, financially desperate and the addicted,” Grasz said.

McNally said the horsemen and HoChunk Inc. helped write some of the gambling guardrails into law and 2.5% of tax revenues are earmarked for problem gamblers.

“Now there are the resources to help these people,” McNally said.

“It’s about keeping the money in Nebraska but it’s also being a benefit to the community, not a detriment,” McNally said.

The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon.

The commission is expected to grant the first permanent operating license to the Lincoln facility.

McNally said if that happens, the casino plans on opening its doors at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Sports wagering will not be allowed.

The commission still has to establish rules and regulations which have to be reviewed by the attorney general and approved by the governor before that can occur.



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