New casinos in Omaha and Lincoln: Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission is offering those with gaming addictions additional resources

LINCOLN, Nebraska – As the state prepares to expand casino gambling, the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission is providing greater resources to those with gaming addictions.

The state said on Wednesday that it will provide a way for anyone to effectively prohibit themselves from Nebraska gaming enterprises. The form for self-exclusion is available on the website of the commission.

According to the policies listed on the commission’s website, if an application is approved, the applicant is ineligible to place bets or even be on the premises of Nebraska betting businesses. The application will demand contact information, a passport-style photo, and a statement explaining why the applicant fits the criteria of a “problem gambler.”

Additionally, they must specify how long they wish to remain on the list.

“We recognize the enthusiasm and expectation surrounding the expansion of gaming in Nebraska,” stated NRG Executive Director Tom Sage in a press release issued on Wednesday. “It is essential for the regulation of a professional gaming sector to implement procedures to alleviate the negative impacts of problem gambling. We encourage everyone to study the warning signs of compulsive gambling and to adopt the self-exclusion program if they or a loved one have a gambling addiction.”

After voters approved expanding gambling nearly two years ago, the state is poised to issue its first license this week. If this occurs, slot machines might begin running in Lincoln as early as Saturday.

Warhorse’s Lincoln business is prepared to launch with 400 slot machines soon the casino license for games of chance is approved. If the gaming commission approves it during its monthly meeting on Friday, the temporary casino might open this weekend.

Warhorse’s Omaha operation, now located at Horsemen’s Park on Q Street, is still ten months away from receiving the casino license since the 30-year-old building must be demolished first.

Also on the agenda for Friday is the formation of a problem gambling committee.

The self-reporting system is imperfect, according to experts who spoke with 6 News, but a piece of paper works better than many believe it would.

Mike Sciandra, who has considered himself a problem gambler for years, stated, “My paperwork is right here in front of me.”

He is also on self-ban lists with casinos in Iowa and Missouri, which he describes as a deterrent. If he attempted to gamble in these states, he would be unable to win any money and could be penalized with trespassing.

Sciandra stated, “I am aware that there are a great number of people who, like me, lead double lives and struggle.”

As the outreach coordinator for Choices Treatment Center in Lincoln, he not only overcame addiction but also taught others how to obtain assistance.

“In the end, gamblers will find a method to gamble,” stated Sciandra. “The most important thing is, I want — I call it the 90% rule: 90% of people can bet responsibly without negative effects; but for those 10% who can’t control themselves and need to set restrictions on their gambling, I want them to have the resources to do so.”

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