The Prairie Flower is getting ready to bloom.
The new casino in Carter Lake will open at noon on Nov. 1, according to a press release from Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, which owns and operates the facility.
The 9,500-square-foot casino is being built on 5 acres of land at Ninth Street and Avenue H, about 3 miles north of downtown Omaha. It will feature 200 slot-style machines, a full-service bar and a snack bar but no table games at this time, said Jimmy Centers, a spokesman for the tribe.
The casino will be open 24 hours a day, for people 21 and older.
The casino has been the subject of a legal battle that has stretched for more than a decade. The city of Council Bluffs and the states of Iowa and Nebraska have challenged the right of the Ponca Tribe to build a casino in Carter Lake since the land was purchased. It is not part of the Poncas’ ancestral lands, which are in Knox and Boyd counties in northeast Nebraska.
Council Bluffs filed a federal lawsuit in December to overturn a ruling by the National Indian Gaming Commission in favor of the tribe. Iowa and Nebraska have joined the lawsuit.
The Prairie Flower Casino is named for the daughter of Standing Bear, a 19th Century Ponca chief. Prairie Flower died of tuberculosis during the tribe’s 1877 trail of tears, when the federal government forced tribal members to leave their homelands near Niobrara and move to a reservation in what is now the state of Oklahoma. She was one of nine of the tribe’s 700 members who died along the way.
Profits from the casino will help support programs and services for the tribal citizens, including a health clinic near Ralston, job training, continuing education, land preservation and cultural arts, Centers said. The tribe now claims a membership of more than 4,200, about half of whom live in Nebraska or Iowa.