Ponca Tribe of Nebraska announces Carter Lake gaming facility projected to open late October

(Carter Lake, Iowa) – The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska today announced the name of the gaming facility being built on their sovereign land in Carter Lake, Iowa. Prairie Flower Casino is projected to open in late October 2018, and represents the completion of the first phase of the Prairie Flower Casino. Plans to grow the gaming facility’s footprint to provide more entertainment, jobs and economic development for the region beyond the first phase are in-progress and will be released to the public when finalized.

The name Prairie Flower has a special meaning to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. Standing Bear, a former Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Chief, who in 1879 successfully argued in federal court that his people were persons within the meaning of habeas corpus, had a daughter named Prairie Flower. Prairie Flower passed away during the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s forced removal from their land to Oklahoma.

Additional information regarding the Prairie Flower Casino includes:

  • Square footage: Phase one of the Prairie Flower Casino will have approximately 9,500 square feet.
  • Gaming: Phase one of the Prairie Flower Casino, which will open in late October 2018, will feature 200 slot-style games. Table games will not be present.
  • Food and beverage: A full service bar will be located in the casino, along with a snack bar.
  • Age restrictions: The Prairie Flower Casino will be open to individuals 21 years of age and older.
  • Jobs created: The Prairie Flower Casino expects to initially hire approximately 100 individuals to staff the facility.

“After exhaustive consideration and valuable input from our Tribal members, we’re pleased to announce Prairie Flower Casino as the name of the gaming facility being built on our tribal land in Carter Lake,” said Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Chairman Larry Wright, Jr. “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. The Prairie Flower Casino will allow us to better serve our members, while bringing economic development and growth to the Carter Lake region.”

Chairman Wright was joined by Carter Lake Mayor Ron Cumberledge for a groundbreaking ceremony on June 8, 2018. At the ceremony, Mayor Cumberledge said, “This project brings new life to land that has not seen development in my lifetime. When I decided to run for office, my main goal was to develop vacant ground that sits idle around our town. I welcome the Ponca casino project and the Ponca people to our community.”

The Prairie Flower Casino’s construction comes following a series of rulings from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). In 2007, the NIGC ruled the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska could develop its sovereign land for a gaming facility. After a ruling called for the NIGC to reconsider the issue, the Commission in 2017 ruled for a second time in the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s favor – this time with the formal concurrence of the top legal official from the United States Department of the Interior, which manages the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The grand opening date will be released as Prairie Flower Casino construction nears completion.

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