by Casino Ned | November 2, 2018 12:43 PM
United States | Iowa | Carter Lake
Prairie Flower Casino opens as a brand new casino following a decade of controversy. Crowds literally packed the new casino gaming facility and delighted attendees eagerly placed bets. The casino opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony just one day after the anniversary of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska‘s official recognition in 1990.
Prairie Flower Casino erected in just Five Months
Prairie Flower Casino was erected in just five months after ground was officially broken in early June. Still surrounded by its construction fencing, its days may well be numbered.
Prairie Flower Casino opens as a brand new casino following a decade of controversy.
The controversial opening of Prairie Flower Casino centers around whether its location should be used for casino gaming. Carter Lake is Ponca tribal land and as tribal land, the Ponca tribe has the legal right to place a casino on it.
Lawsuit against Federal Officers
Both Iowa and Nebraska filed a lawsuit against the federal officers who approved Prairie Flower Casino. Since both states cannot sue the tribe for using its tribal lands legally, then it is obvious that Iowa and Nebraska are suing the next best option.
The Ponca tribe is well within its rights to build a casino on its tribal lands.
Nebraska’s case hinges on the notion that casino gaming is illegal in Nebraska. However, Carter Lake is located in Iowa.
Prairie Flower Casino lies in Iowa on the border of Iowa and Nebraska. Iowa insists that Prairie Flower Casino poses competition for its own gaming facilities in Council Bluffs. Many of those opposing the erection of the new casino, believe that the casino’s location will negatively impact the surrounding community.
Prairie Flower Casino comprises 9,500 square feet. It is one of Iowa’s smallest gambling establishments — a far cry from the massive casino complexes just a few miles away in Council Bluffs. Observers may ask themselves, “what competition really”?
Ponca Tribe Says its Sovereign Land is Fit for Gaming
In November 1997, the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled that the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska had a right to develop its sovereign land for gaming. It was the second ruling in favor of the tribe.
The Ponca tribe was forcibly removed from Nebraska in the 19th century, lost its federally recognized tribal status in 1966 and saw much of its land slip away as its influence fizzled over the years. In 1966, the federal government terminated the Nebraska tribe, then known as the Northern Poncas. The government officially restored recognition of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska on the last day of October in 1990. Since then, the tribe has purchased or been given tribal lands as part of its dedicated but slow acquisition of properties.
The Ponca tribe also acquired other land in Ralston for a medical facility. The new medical facility will also go ahead as the tribe has planned – just not in Carter Lake.
About Carter Lake’s Suitability for Casino Gaming
Carter Lake has a history of gaming and recreation. Many of the casino’s supporters say that Carter Lake is the best possible location for a casino gaming facility.
Prairie Flower Casino’s Opening Night
At Prairie Flower Casino’s opening night, Ponca Chairman Larry Wright, Jr. expressed that overcoming adversity was a thing that the Ponca people did well, especially after following the tribe’s restoration in 1990.
Casino’s profits to fund Services, Education and health care
Wright says profits from the new casino will help fund services, education and the new 60,000-square-foot health care facility in Ralston. The new medical facility is intended for both tribal members and the public. Wright said that the casino would help provide economic stability for future generations. It will pump much needed cash into health care, education and cultural activities for the tribe’s 4,200 members.
Carter Lake Mayor Ron Cumberledge is equally excited at the new casino’s prospects and earnings potential. “Bringing 100 jobs to this area was exactly what we needed,” Cumberledge said. The city’s general fund is also carded to collect just over $775,000 annually as part of its deal with the tribe. “We’re two miles square, we’re 3,700 people, we have limited resources,” Cumberledge said. “With this $775,000 that’s going to come in annually, it’s going to help this community larger than anyone realizes.”
The new casino will be open 24/7 to those 21 years of age and older.
The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has over 4,200 tribal citizens, split almost equally between the two states of Iowa and Nebraska.
The casino is located near North 9th Street and Avenue H in Carter Lake.