Group Files Suit to Keep Historic Horse Racing Measure Off November Ballot


A Nebraska anti-gambling group has filed a lawsuit aimed at preventing an amendment that would allow betting on previously recorded horse races from going on the November ballot.

Gambling with the Good Life says it filed the lawsuit on Monday asking the Nebraska Supreme Court to bar the secretary of state from putting what would be Amendment 1 on the statewide ballot.

If approved by voters, the constitutional amendment would clear the way for the video terminals at licensed tracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Grand Island and Columbus.

Pat Loontjer, the group's executive director, says the measure violates the Nebraska Constitution's provision against asking voters to answer two questions in one vote. He says the amendment asks voters to approve the new form of gambling as well as how the proceeds should be divided.

The group's attorney, Steve Grasz had previously sent a request to Secretary of State John Gale suggesting that the proposal violates the state constitution by containing more than one subject.

However, Gale rejected the request saying that although the language of the amendment contains more than one subject, it "connects its subjects together to be part of one general subject."

He says his authority is limited to whether the alleged defect is patently unconstitutional.