Ho-Chunk, Inc. Pushes Ballot Initiative Filed to Expand Nebraska

Ho-Chunk, Inc. want to see expansion of horseracing in Nebraska as a means for economic development.

Published April 12, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. —  A proposed ballot initiative filed with the Nebraska Secretary of State would allow voters to decide whether to expand gambling at state-licensed horse race tracks.

The campaign committee – Keep the Money in Nebraska – is seeking to amend the Nebraska state constitution to legalize gambling, along with two statutory initiatives to regulate casino gaming.

Lance Morgan

“Nebraskans’ money is funding other states’ priorities. There’s a lot of good this money can do right here in Nebraska,” said Lance Morgan, President and CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc.

The State of Nebraska is missing out on taxes and proceeds from about $500 million that residents wager annually in surrounding states, according to petition sponsors. Expanded gaming would generate an estimated $50 million in new tax revenue to help fund property tax relief, K-12 public education and the Nebraska Gamblers Assistance Fund.

Ho-Chunk, Inc. and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Association (HBPA) are partnering to bring the issue to Nebraska voters in the November 2020 election. Ho-Chunk, Inc. is the award-winning economic development corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Association is a non-profit group of thoroughbred owners and trainers.

“I am very pleased that the Nebraska Horsemen are continuing their partnership with Ho-Chunk, Inc. and Nebraska’s First People. This union of past and present insures a bright future for horse racing and will stem the flow of Nebraska dollars to neighboring states,” said Barry Lake, President of the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent Protection Association.

Sponsors are optimistic the time is right. Polling in 2015 showed Nebraskans favored allowing casino gambling but a petition drive ended without the required number of signatures. This time simpler ballot language, fewer questions and a new signature collection group are involved.

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