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Ponca Tribe fighting to keep new casino open

Posted at 12:29 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-04 13:29:09-05

CARTER LAKE, Iowa. (AP) — Some 150 years after suffering the loss of its homeland at the hands of the U.S. government, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is celebrating a triumph with the opening of a casino intended to secure a stream of revenue for the long-struggling tribe.

The only thing standing in its way is an effort by governments in Iowa and Nebraska that seeks to strip it of the casino.

The $10 million Prairie Flower Casino opened in November with 200-slot style machines after the National Indian Gaming Commission approved the tribe's casino license a year earlier, some 10 years after the tribe began its effort to open the casino.

Three much larger casinos are just a few miles away, also in Western Iowa. Yet the casino's location is central to the opposition to it, including lawsuits from the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the states of Iowa and Nebraska.

The lawsuits fault the National Indian Gaming Commission's decision to license the Prairie Flower, saying the tribe misrepresented its intentions when it initially announced plans for a health center on the lot.