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Ponca Tribe to Open Iowa Casino in October

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska hopes their new casino in Iowa to be open and fully operational in October. The gaming facility, which is now under construction at Carter Lake, would be named Prairie Flower Casino, the tribe announced Monday.

The casino project has a couple of phases, but the first one will include a 9,500-square-foot gaming space with 200 slot machines. No gaming tables will be offered for now, but there are expansions plans, which might bring more gambling options to the Iowa facility. It is being built on tribal land in the town of Carter Lake, which is on the border between Iowa and Nebraska. Work on the new casino started in the spring and the grand opening date would be announced as construction nears completion. Still, tribal leaders said they were expecting the casino to open in October.

Casino management estimates that around a hundred employees will be hired initially. Along with the gaming area, there will be a bar and a snack bar. According to the statement, released Monday by the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, the name of the casino has a special meaning to them. The venue is named Prairie Flower Casino after the daughter of former Chief Standing Bear.

In 1879, he successfully argued in federal court that his people were “persons within the meaning of the law” and have the right of habeas corpus. The legendary chief had a daughter called Prairie Flower, the Ponca say, but she died during the tribe’s forced relocation from their lands to Oklahoma. Today, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska consists of nearly 4,300 tribal citizens and around half of them reside in the states of Iowa and Nebraska.

Nebraska, Iowa Try to Block Ponca Casino

The native American tribe is proceeding with its casino project despite the pending legal proceedings that aim at blocking it from launching a gambling facility. The Iowa Government and Council Bluffs are now suing federal officials who gave the official permission for the casino.

Late last year, the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the project, which is seen as a competition for the non-Indian gambling facilities in the state. More importantly, the casino is widely considered a threat to the revenues Iowa and the local communities receive for hosting these casinos.

In June, Attorney General Doug Peterson announced that Nebraska had joined Iowa in the federal lawsuit against the Ponca Tribe regarding the construction of the casino. Interestingly enough, gambling remains illegal in the State of Nebraska. So why do they want to stop the casino from being built? Officials in the state want to keep slots and all other forms of gambling away from the state border so that residents find it harder to gamble.

Carter Lake, where the Ponca are now building their new casino, is a city in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. But it is also a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, and the only Iowa territory west of the Missouri River. It is practically a piece of Iowa in Nebraska, which is why the non-gambling state is against the construction of the Prairie Flower Casino.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.