By GREG SCELLIN
One of America’s favorite gambling opportunities took place a couple months ago with the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. It is estimated that Americans gamble over $100 billion a year.
While Nebraska is often considered a low-gambling or even a non-gambling state, it is interesting to note that “charitable” gambling in Nebraska was up 2.9 percent between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 from $280.7 million to $288.7 million. This “charitable” gaming provided nearly $6 million in tax receipts. The breakdown of the Nebraska “charitable” gaming total was $256.8 million in keno; $17.9 million in pickle cards; $8.6 million in lottery/raffle; and $5.3 million in bingo.
It is also interesting to note that “charitable” gambling surpassed $1 million in Fillmore County in 2018. From July of 2017 to June of 2018, $1,039,355 of “charitable” gambling was reported in the county. This number was up 41 percent from the previous year’s total of $737,415 for Fillmore County. “Charitable” gambling totals for neighboring counties in 2018 were: York County, $587,625; Saline County, $1.118 million; Thayer County, $28,385; and Clay County, $614,862.
Keno is by far (over 72 percent) the “charitable” game of choice in Fillmore County with $751,297 being bet in 2018. Next was pickle cards, $213,305; followed by lottery/raffle, $66,010; and finally bingo, $8,743. The Village of Exeter has the biggest keno game in the county with $480,538 being wagered in 2018. The City of Geneva is next with $242,216 followed by Milligan with $28,543. In Nebraska, a potential keno outlet has to apply to a city council or village board for approval.