It is a celebration day for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska as they officially opened the Prairie Flower Casino on land they own in Carter Lake, Iowa. National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. flew in from Washington D.C. to attend the grand opening and says today marks a new beginning.
Stevens says, “We look forward to observing how these revenues will fund tribal programs and services that will benefit the 4,200 members of the tribe. Indian gaming has been a catalyst for many tribal governments, not only to enrich the lives of its members but to add to local and state economies around them.”
The casino will also benefit the community. The tribe will contribute $775,000 per year to Carter Lake to support police, fire, emergency responders and for general community improvement. Proceeds will also help support Tribal citizens by supporting programs and services, job training, continuing education, land preservation and cultural arts.
Ponca Tribal Chairman Frank Wright Jr. says, “The opening of Prairie Flower Casino will support Ponca Tribal citizens and our public. Proceeds will help fund our new health facility in Ralston. These are physical structures that show the commitment we have as people to care for each other and to show that our citizens and children have the same opportunities as others and it will provide for the future of our people.”
Carter Lake has a confusing history. It was originally part of Iowa but the Missouri River changed course in 1877 placing that section of land west of the river. There were court battles until 1892 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Carter Lake belonged to Iowa.
The casino has 200 slot style games, a full bar and a snack bar. It is located at 1031 Avenue H in Carter Lake and is open 24/7.