The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has announced that the casino being built on the tribe’s land in Carter Lake will open in late October.
The casino will be named Prairie Flower Casino after the daughter of former Chief Standing Bear. The chief’s daughter, Prairie Flower, died during the tribe’s forced removal from their land to Oklahoma.
“With its name, we honor our Tribe’s past and the sacrifices our people made, while charting a new path of prosperity for our Tribe,” Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Chairman Larry Wright Jr. said in a press release. “The Prairie Flower Casino will allow us to better serve our members, while bringing economic development and growth to the Carter Lake region.”
There are plans to expand the facility, but the first phase will include a 9,500-square-foot space with 200 slot-style games. There won’t be any table games.
The casino plans to initially hire about 100 people and will include a bar and a snack bar. The casino will be open only to people 21 years and older.
The tribe said a grand opening date will be announced as construction nears completion.
Earlier this year, Nebraska joined Iowa in a federal lawsuit seeking to block the Ponca from opening the casino. In Iowa, the casino is seen as a threat to cut tax revenues generated by non-Indian gambling outlets operating in the state. In Nebraska, casino gambling remains illegal, and officials want to keep another casino from opening so close to the state.
Under federal law, tribes may offer gambling on land they own, as long as gambling is legal in that state.
Last year the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled that the tribe could develop the project on restored lands acquired after the Nebraska band of the Ponca regained federal recognition as an independent nation in 1990.
The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has almost 4,300 enrolled members with about half residing in Iowa and Nebraska.