Nebraska Legal Poker Sites

Nebraska StateNebraska has a colorful history when it comes to poker games. In fact this is one of only two States which have a popular poker variant named after one of their cities. Omaha, NE, was once a hotbed of gambling, drinking and vice. Unfortunately this was stamped out in the prohibition era before the great depression – and very little poker has returned to take its place. As the Nebraskan law stands, the only way you could play Omaha in Omaha is in a bar league type setup with no entry fees.

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This page gives you an up-to-date overview of poker in the State of Nebraska. First up, you will find information on playing at casino poker rooms (which involves crossing State borders). After that some detail on home games and other social poker formats. Next up, internet poker is examined – along with the chances of Nebraska regulating these games in the near future. Finally, you will find the key information on poker straight from the Statute books – and a summary of the current and future situation.

Live Poker Games In Nebraska

There are no legal card rooms at all in Nebraska. In fact there are no table games of any kind, with only 3 small native casinos offering any type of real money gambling. What many Nebraskan’s do is hop over the State border to Iowa. Here the big casino at Council Bluffs offers a poker room with a great selection of both cash games and tournaments. It has been argued within the NE government that this is potential tax revenue going over to Iowa. A bill was put forward in 2012 to allow State regulated casinos. Like many gambling bills in Senates around the country, this never made it to the floor for a vote.

Are Home Games Legal In Nebraska?

Unlike in neighboring States, there is no exemption for home games under the Nebraska Statutes. While this means that strictly speaking holding a small stakes social game could put you in line for a police visit – there is very little history of strict enforcement in this area. Illegal poker rooms, where the house takes a rake or charges tournament entry fees would be a more serious matter.

Bar poker leagues are just about the only place you can have a legal game of poker for real prizes in NE. The bars involved can’t charge entry fees, and make up for the prizes give with the extra business that their bar and restaurant services enjoy while the games are running.

Online Poker Games In Nebraska

As with the majority of US States, there is nothing in the Statute books which explicitly says that gambling on the internet is illegal. Instead the assumption is that this area is already covered by the old style laws banning all forms of gambling which do not have their own carve-out.

Many Nebraskan’s enjoy online poker at the off-shore poker sites which welcome US players. These are based in locations where poker is legal, including Antigua or the Netherlands Antilles. While deposits and withdrawals can involve some effort – these sites offer a range of cash games and tournaments to players all over the US. While nobody in Nebraska has ever been busted for enjoying online poker games at offshore sites – this is of course at your own risk.

What Do The Nebraskan Gambling Statutes Say?

Nebraska avoid anyone trying the ‘poker is a skill game’ argument by including the wording ‘element of chance’ in their definition of gambling activity. It is hard to argue that poker does not contain any chance at all – over the short-term at least. What this State also does is to have a wide definition of using illegal gambling devices. Effectively, this means that even if you could argue that your game was somehow exempt from the main definition – the fact that it was on a table, used chips and cards would be enough to cross into the illegal sphere.

Here are the key words from the Nebraska law books, from Section 9, Part 629. The first definition is of illegal gambling.

…bets something of value upon the outcome of a future event, which outcome is determined by an element of chance, or upon the outcome of a game…

Here is some of the definition of a gambling device, which includes a piece of paper!

Gambling device shall mean any device, machine, paraphernalia, writing, paper, instrument, article, or equipment that is used or usable for engaging in gambling…

Under these definitions, games which only award replays (for example pinball machines) would be considered illegal gambling devices. As of the time of writing, nobody has actually been prosecuted for playing on a pinball machine in Nebraska!

Nebraska Poker – Summing It Up

This is not the best State to be a poker fan, with bar leagues the only truly legal opportunity to play poker – and those games have no entry fee and usually small prizes. Council Bluffs, just over the Iowa border is a popular destination for poker-hungry Nebraskans.

With no casinos offering table games, there is a long way to go before this State catches up with the more progressive States. I do not see regulated online poker games becoming available here any time soon.