Nebraska Legislators Advance Bill to Regulate Skill Gaming Machines

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Nebraska's legislative body is moving forward with a bill designed to tighten the regulations concerning skill gaming machines, which can be found throughout the state. The bill, LB685, is being spearheaded by State Sen. John Lowe of Kearney and it passed its first stages with a 31-0 vote in favor.

Stricter Measures and Taxation

There has been a significant increase in the number of skill gaming machines in bars, restaurants, convenience stores, and similar venues in recent years. They differ from traditional slot machines by requiring a certain amount of skill to win. As a result, the line between entertainment and gambling has become somewhat blurred. However, there are also concerns about the addictive nature of the machines.

Bill LB685 would introduce a number of measures designed to address these concerns. The first is a 5% tax on net profits from skill gaming machines as well as a $100 fee per machine to be paid by distributors. Those distributors that have at least 50 machines would have to pay a much larger fee of $5,000.

The tax money would then be used to help with property tax relief, tourism initiatives, and funding for enforcement measures. The legislation would also prevent the sale of co-branded alcoholic drinks alongside their non-alcoholic equivalents. This would be done to prevent customers from becoming confused and ensure that alcohol isn’t sold to those under the age of 21.

Concerns Regarding Skill Games’ Resemblance to Slot Machines

While the bill was being debated, concerns were raised that it was too hard to distinguish between games of skill and luck, and some senators argued that skill gaming machines are in essence modified slots that rely more on luck than skill.

Furthermore, there have been concerns about how widespread the machines have become and whether this will lead to an increase in criminal activity and problem gambling. However, those in favor of the bill say that it addresses all of these concerns.

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