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Nebraska Supreme Court Will Allow Casino Gambling On November's Ballot

Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen Originally Said That Petitions Filed By Pro-Gambling Group Did Not Comply With Single Subject Rule

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Nebraskans will be able to vote on whether casino gambling comes to their state after all.

The state’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-gambling group that was contesting Nebraska Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen’s decision to keep the expanded gambling issue off the November ballot.

In July, Keep the Money in Nebraska, a political committee made up partly of Ho-Chunk Inc., which owns several tribal casinos in Wisconsin, filed three petitions with more than 400,000 combined signatures asking for expanded gambling to be put on the ballot this November.

The six-figures worth of signatures clearly surpassed the threshold needed to make the issue a ballot initiative.

But Evnen denied the request. He said in an August press release that the three separate gambling petitions filed by Keep the Money in Nebraska “fail to comply with the single subject rule in the Nebraska Constitution and are confusing.”

When ballot access was denied, the group hired an attorney to take it to the state’s highest court.

Arguments were heard at the start of the week and the court released its opinion Thursday, ruling that the petitions were not in violation of the single subject rule. The decision came just in time as Friday is the deadline for November’s ballot.

“The Secretary of State is required by statute to issue determinations as to whether initiative petitions are legally sufficient,” wrote Evnen in a statement. “I did my best to make those determinations on a timely basis … Today the Supreme Court issued its decisions concerning these petitions. I respect the rule of law and I will certify the ballot in compliance with the Court’s orders.”

If voters pass the initiative at the polls this fall, both casinos and sports betting will come to the state.

Nebraska is currently one of just 10 states without any casinos within its borders, joining Alaska, Hawaii, Georgia, Utah, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia and Vermont. Virginia will be taken off that list eventually as the state passed legislation earlier this year that will allow for brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.