Voters Will Decide Fate of Historic Horse Racing Measure
By Sara Kirkley, Weekend Anchor / Reporter - email
Governor Dave Heineman says he won't veto the historic horse racing bill passed in the Legislature Monday.
It puts the issue on the ballot for Nebraska voters in November.
Race horse owner Gene McCloud, of Grand Island, thinks new betting terminals could save his industry. He said it is worth saving.
"There's a huge economic impact across the state with jobs at the race track and also jobs off the race track," said McCloud.
McCloud said the tourism and agriculture industries benefit, for example, when he buys hay for his horses.
"That's about $5,000, and out here at the farm, we go through a semi load about every two months," he said.
McCloud said he's seen the terminals, which allow people to bet on live or previously run races at the track, boost struggling industries in Kentucky and Arkansas.
But, opponents say this is expanded gambling and bad for Nebraska.
Governor Heineman had vetoed a similar bill, but says this time he'll let voters decide.
"I think most people oppose expanded gambling in the state, but now they're going to have that opportunity," said Heineman. "Some will be for and some will be against. The people will have spoken and we should listen to their voice above all else."
HBPA member McCloud said his group will likely be spreading the message of keeping jobs in the state until November. Anti-gambling groups are likely to do the same.