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Governor opposes latest gambling petition
July 15, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Governor Pete Ricketts walks in the Oregon Trail Days Parade. Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen

The perennial push to legalize gambling in Nebraska was one of the concerns Gov. Pete Ricketts discussed during his stop in Gering for Oregon Trail Days.

Ricketts spoke with the media prior to the parade Saturday morning and voiced his opposition to the latest petition drive called Keep the Money in Nebraska.

“I got involved in politics because of a gambling petition more than a decade ago,” Ricketts said. “If you look at the data for every dollar of tax revenue gambling brings in, we spend three in social services for problems like child and spousal abuse, and increased embezzlement.”

Ricketts said gambling can be very addictive and harmful to some people as a lot of social ills go along with it. “I don’t believe this is a solution to our problems,” he said. “This initiative doesn’t keep the money in Nebraska. We’d only be spending more to fix the social problems it brings. It’s a bad idea for the state.”

The Keep the Money in Nebraska campaign has turned in approximately 310,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office for verification. If the signatures are validated, the proposition to legalize gambling in Nebraska will appear on November’s general election ballot.

Ricketts also spoke to the recent violence in Dallas, which left five police officers dead from a sniper incident.“All of us mourn for the brave officers who were killed,” the governor said.
“We’ve made progress when it comes to race relations, but it also demonstrates how one person can really tear a rift in our country.”

Ricketts said he’s confident that in Nebraska, law enforcement is always looking for opportunities to improve community relations, which is an ongoing process. Police training is something that continues to be evaluated.

“The actions of one person doesn’t represent the entire community,” he said. “We will continue to support our law enforcement people who risk their lives every day to protect us.”

Ricketts said, “it’s always fun to come out west and participate in Oregon Trail Days.” This year, he brought his wife and two of their kids along. “This is a great way to celebrate our traditions and history,” he said. “That’s what makes us a great state – celebrating the history and legacy of the people who laid the foundation for our great way of life.”
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