- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - Kearney City Councilman Randy Buschkoetter has pleaded no contest and paid a fine for gambling at the boys state basketball game in Lincoln last month.

Buschkoetter, 49, pleaded no contest March 28 in Lancaster County Court to engaging in gambling, a misdemeanor, the Kearney Hub reported (https://bit.ly/1q53LjF ) Friday. He paid a $200 fine, plus court costs.

“I did it,” Buschkoetter told the newspaper. “It’s one of those things. It’s on the books, it’s against the law, but it is also not that uncommon. I put the police in Lincoln in a bad spot, and we ended up where we ended up.”

Lincoln police have said off-duty officers saw Buschkoetter take four of five bets that his 21-year-old daughter wrote down in a notebook during the course of several games March 14 at Pinnacle Bank. The action was so blatant that the officers thought they had to intervene, Lincoln Police spokeswoman Katie Flood said last month.

The betting involved people choosing the total number of points scored in a game. The person who came closest to that number won the money. It wasn’t clear how much money was involved.

It’s a game Buschkoetter said he has seen other people conduct at state games in the past.

“We weren’t picking winners. Wasn’t playing spreads,” he said. “What transpired isn’t an uncommon activity, I believe, but police felt they needed to step in and take some steps.”

About 25 people from across the state were involved in the game, police said, but Buschkoetter was the only one charged.

Buschkoetter’s daughter initially was cited in the incident, but charges were never filed against her.

Buschkoetter has been on the Kearney City Council since 1998, and his term expires in December, according to the city website.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, https://www.kearneyhub.com/

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