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Lawmaker introduces horse racing bill
It's an industry that has struggled over the past several years. Some tracks closing while others have decreased the number of races held each year. But one state lawmaker is trying to revive the industry.
News 5's Josh Egbert has more on a bill that could offer hope.
"This is about horse racing, plain and simple," said Senator Scott Lautenbaugh.
It's a bill that would allow state race tracks to install machines that allow betting on old horse races.
"Any information that would help someone identify when and where the race was run, or any other specifically identifying information has been scrubbed," said Lautenbaugh.
Omaha Senator Scott Lautenbaugh is sponsoring the bill. He says by allowing people to bet on old races would bring in more revenue for the industry.
Horse racing advocates agree.
"This is legal already, we think that betting on historic racing machines is legal, it's pari-mutual wagering," said Greg Hosch, Horsemen's Park.
But not everyone supports the legislation, including Gambling with the Good Life.
"Use of these machines to wager on the results of previously run races appears to be impermissible," said Pat Loontjer, Gambling with the Good Life.
Horse racing in the state has been on the decline. In 1988, at the height of its popularity, 180 live races were held in Nebraska, fast forward 24 years, only 91 races were live.
"If the horse racing industry in the state went away, they would not have the use of those facilities and it would cause a lot of problems for these groups," said Jessica Kolterman, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation.
Along with saving the industry, Lautenbaugh says the bill would also save 2,000 to 3,000 jobs.
"And they want to continue to have those jobs, and they're competing with keno, and they're competing with the lottory, and they're competing with all these other sources of gaming," Lautenbaugh said.
Even with support from the horse racing industry, the bill faces big obstacles. Last year, Governor Heineman vetoed a similar proposal.
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