Nebraska Legal Poker Laws

Nebraska Poker Laws
Legal Gambling / Poker Laws in Nebraska

What does online poker have to offer players in Nebraska?  The same thing it has to offer poker players from around the world: the ability to play a ton of different games against a ton of different opponents at nearly any time of day.  In this Guide to Nebraska Online Poker, we're going to walk through the basics of playing online poker from the state of Nebraska, highlight aspects of state law that could apply to online poker and finally provide you with the additional resources necessary for you to learn everything worth knowing about Nebraska and online poker.

Online Poker in Nebraska

Top Legal Sites for Nebraska Online Poker Players

We don't just choose our top poker sites for Nebraska players by random draw.  We're evaluating the legal status of the site - does it hold a proper license to operate?  We also look at promotions - how generous are the bonuses and rewards?  Finally, we consider the software - is it stable?  Secure?  Only the rooms that can answer all three questions to our satisfaction make our list of the best Nebraska online poker sites:

Can Poker Players From Nebraska Play Poker Online?

All of the poker rooms that are open to the United States also accept players from Nebraska.  That means getting online to play poker for real money is a pretty simple affair for Nebraskans.  Creating an account requires little more than an email address, and depositing with a credit card is an identical process to buying an ebook or app.  Add it all up, and you'll probably spend under five minutes on the whole endeavor - certainly far less time than it would take you to even get your chips at a live poker room.

Online Poker and Nebraska Law

Nebraska gambling law is a dense thing, and all of it was written in an era that predates the Internet.  Drawing specific conclusions about whether playing poker online for real money violates the letter (or the spirit) of Nebraska law is a job for a lawyer, and this article is not a substitute for that kind of advice. 

What we've done below is highlighted some of the most important parts of the law, along with some of the key points necessary to accurately read the law:

  1. Nebraska law requires only a bet involving "something of value" on an event or game with an "element of chance" for an activity to qualify as gambling (Section 28-1101). 
  2. Gambling is illegal by default under Nebraska law.
  3. Nebraska law takes a (somewhat unique) tiered approach to gambling violations.  There are three degrees of "promoting gambling" that can apply both to players and those on the business side of the illegal gambling activity.
  4. Promoting gambling in the third degree takes place when a player bets under $300 in a day in the course of illegal gambling.  A second degree charge kicks in for players who bet over $300 and for operators who take in less than $1000 a day.  The most severe charge (a felony) is reserved for operators who take in over $1000 in a single day (Sections 28-1102 through 28-1104).
  5. Interesting, the law stipulates that individuals must "knowingly" participate in illegal games as a player to trigger charges (Section 28-1104).  This suggests that you must be (or, more likely, should reasonably be) aware that the activity you're involved in is illegal in order for it to be illegal for you to participate in.
  6. Additional charges are possible for operators, including charges related to possession of gambling devices and the collection of gambling debts.
  7. There is no specific mention of Internet-based gambling in Nebraska law.

To learn more about Nebraska law as it pertains to gambling, online poker and other gaming-related subjects, refer to the official verson of the Nebraska Revised Statutes here [1].

Is Nebraska Planning to Regulate Online Poker?

There are no indications that Nebraska will move to regulate online poker or online gambling in the near future.  Tribal gambling entities in the state, however, may make a push to bring one or both to Nebraska, especially if buttressed by a federal bill that creates a regulatory framework for online poker.

Nebraska Gambling Facts

Snapshot of Nebraska Gambling History

"Gambling" might not be the first word that springs to mind when you think of Nebraska, but the state was actually something of a mecca for gamblers during much of the 19th and 20th century.  The majority of that gambling took place in Omaha, which was by some accounts the "Sin City" of its day, hosting all manner of casino games, betting houses and other ways of gambling since lost to time.  One estimate puts Omaha at the very top of the gambling per capita list for the first half of the 1900s.

Changing attitudes toward gambling (and the law) eventually turned back the tide to some degree, and you'll no longer find the widespread casino activity that once defined Omaha, but Nebraska continues to offer residents and visitors a healthy supply of regulated gambling activities.

What are the Regulated Gambling Options in Nebraska?

What's on offer in Nebraska when it comes to regulated gaming?  You can choose from the state-backed lottery, pari-mutuel wagering at racetracks and approved facilities, tribal gambling spots offering Class II and Class III options and a variety of charitable gambling activity.

Does Nebraska Offer any Regulated Online Gambling?

As it currently stands, the state of Nebraska is not in the business of regulating online gambling or issuing licenses to sites.  Ideally for residents, Nebraska will opt to regulate online poker and online gambling at some point in the future, as a state-licensed room would likely provide the highest level of protection for players.

Recent Nebraska Gambling Headlines

The latest news out of Nebraska was what didn't happen.  Voters came close to getting a chance to voice their opinion on expanding regulated gambling to include commercial casinos, but the ballot initiative that would have provided that chance - the Nebraska Gambling Amendment [2]- died in a legislative committee.

Nebraska Gambling Resources

Nebraska Gaming Commission [3].  A one-stop-shop for answers (both basic and detailed) about regulated gambling in the state.  The NGC regulates all forms of gambling in Nebraska, with the exception of horse racing. 

Socioeconomic Indicators of Legalized Gambling in Lincoln/Lancaster County, Nebraska [4].  While a few years old, this report still provides critical background and context regarding the impact of casino expansion on communities, governments and individuals.

NLCC Gambling Answers [5].  A handy guide from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission that collects answers to the most frequently asked questions about gambling and the law in Nebraska.

Nebraska's Place in Poker History

While Nebraska had a rich tradition of poker and gambling, the state has produced fewer household poker names than you might expect.  In fact, the most prominent link between Nebraska and poker comes not in the form of a famous player at all, but in the form of a popular poker variant that one assumes must have taken its moniker from Nebraska's largest city: Omaha hold'em (generally referred to simply as "Omaha").

Sources & Citations For This Article on Nebraska Online Poker