This October would be a special one for the Native American federally recognized Ponca Tribe of Nebraska as it is going to witness the official launch of its long-anticipated new casino in Iowa. Monday brought good news to the Carter Lake City Council, as the tribal casino developer introduced the first paycheck of several to come.
Monday was set to bring the monthly meeting of the local authorities which has the main objective to arrange local issues and discuss relevant topics. This was also when the Native American tribe was supposed to introduce its first paycheck in relation to its soon-to-launch Prairie Flower Casino project in the town of Carter Lake. It amounted to some $250,000 and is the first of several installments previously arranged between the parties. A second paycheck is expected to be introduced about three months after the official launch of the casino venue in October.
The tribe and Prairie Flower Casino presented a check to the City of Carter Lake, IA, during Monday night’s city council meeting. The payment is part of the operating agreement for the casino. pic.twitter.com/ZHa9PNQQwT
— Ponca Tribe of NE (@PoncaTribeofNE) September 18, 2018
What should be taken into account is that the tribal casino developer would have to produce paychecks reaching some $400,000 or $500,000 over the span of a single year of operation, as it has been previously established. In addition to that, other types of payments would be expected throughout the year, reaching three installments across twelve months. Larry Wright Jr., Chairman of the Indian tribe stated that this situation is projected to be mutually beneficial to both parties involved in it.
Legal Hassle Surrounding the Casino Project
There have been several considerable hiccups in the years leading to this moment, as both Iowa and Nebraska states are against the construction of the casino venue overseen by the tribe. It could be recalled that the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Department of the Interior witnessed a joined federal lawsuit aiming to prevent the project from happening. Among the main arguments against the venue was the fact that the land lot is not included in the restored lands.
Another reason for the discontent and legal actions is the fact that the new tribal casino is most definitely going to bring a level of cannibalization to the regional field. There are casino venues currently in operation near Council Bluffs, Iowa which are successful at their business and are able to rake in significant amount to the local coffers. Some of them are Ameristar Casino Hotel, Harrah’s Council Bluffs Hotel and Casino, as well as Horseshoe Council Bluffs.
By introducing a new tribal gambling venue locals from both states would be tempted to give the new offering a try and this could result in a migration of some part of the generated player pool. However, the tribe relies on the fact that the town is situated on the border between Iowa and Nebraska making it easily accessible for casino patrons of both states and therefore provide a considerable economy boost to the region.
Towards the end of 2017, the tribe witnessed more development in relation to the case, as almost ten years of legal actions, including legal reviews, lawsuits and appeals, led to the National Indian Gaming Commission giving its final approval of the project.
Prairie Flower Casino Characteristics
The casino project is expected to see several phases of development and launch. The first one which is expected to be ready towards the end of October will include a finished 9,500-square-foot gaming space boasting as many as 200 slot machines. For the time being the casino facilities would not provide its patrons with gaming tables, but there are expansions plans, which might bring more gambling options to the Iowa facility.
At the very beginning of the operation the gaming facility would need some hundred workers which would boost the local employment market. More people are expected to be hired in the foreseeable future as additional phases of the project launch. Along with the gaming area, there will be a bar and a snack bar. Upcoming weeks are set to bring more information regarding specific launch date and further details.