January 18, 2008
OMAHA, NE – The Ponca Tribe may build a new casino in Carter Lake, Iowa, a
few miles from Omaha. The property is off Abbott Drive about two miles north of
the Qwest Center Omaha.
Last month the National Indian Gaming Commission authorized gaming on the 5 acres owned by the tribe at Carter Lake, which are held in trust by the federal government. In an earlier decision last October the commission rejected the tribe's petition to seek gambling because the tribe had previously said it did not plan to build a casino. However, the commission reversed its ruling on appeal.
Tribal Chairman Larry Wright Jr. said circumstances have changed since 2002 when the tribe placed the land into federal trust. "We had to adjust with the times and change, and that's what we did. We looked at that site for gaming purposes and decided, it was our responsibility to explore that." Early steps are still pending. The tribe has not sought financial support and has not drawn specific plans.
The tribe will meet January 26th in Norfolk, Nebraska to discuss the commission’s decision.
If the Ponca Tribe proceeds with a casino, they must negotiate a compact with Iowa.
Attorney General Tom Miller of Iowa said he was consulting with Governor Culver and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to determine the best way to proceed. The Department of Inspections and Appeals negotiates the state's Indian gambling compacts, which must then approved by the governor and the legislature.
"We're consulting with the Governor's Office about our options, including whether to seek judicial review from a federal district court," said Bob Brammer, a spokesman from the attorney general’s office.
About the Ponca Tribe
The tribe has more than 2,600 enrolled members. It does not have a reservation, but it has 15 service counties in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. It has offices in Carter Lake, Sioux City, Omaha, Lincoln, Norfolk and Niobrara. For more information, visit the Ponca Tribe website at www.poncatribe-ne.org.
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