Ponca Tribe Inaugurates Casino Expansion in Carter Lake

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska took a step toward achieving a long-standing goal on Monday as construction began to expand the tribe’s Prairie Flower Casino in Carter Lake.

Rebecca Sullivan, acting tribal council chair, called the expansion’s groundbreaking part of a “day of celebration.” The groundbreaking for the 60,000 square foot addition coincides with the 32nd anniversary of the Ponca Restoration Act which restored the tribe’s federal recognition.

The groundbreaking also comes a day before the fourth anniversary of the opening of the original casino. The addition will increase the casino’s footprint to over 70,000 square feet.

Sullivan said the tribe planned to expand the casino even before opening the existing building.

“We always had in mind to move forward with a bigger casino,” she said.

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Scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2024, the casino addition will add 600 machines, including electronic slots and table games. It will also have a space where people can bet on sports and enjoy a gastro pub. The expansion will also provide retail space and dining options intended to provide what Sullivan said is a “food court-like atmosphere.”

The Prairie Flower Casino expansion will add 200 new jobs in addition to the 100 people already employed at the existing casino.


Sullivan declined to disclose casino expansion costs. She said the expansion will add 200 new jobs in addition to the 100 people already employed at the casino.

The groundbreaking for the Prairie Flower expansion comes more than a year after a federal appeals court ruled unanimously in favor of the tribe. The court ruled that the tribe had the right to build and operate a casino on the land which the plaintiffs – the states of Nebraska and Iowa and the city of Council Bluffs – said was not restored land.

Prairie Flower Casino will encounter more competition now that casino gambling is legal in Nebraska. war horse casino open in Lincoln earlier this fall, and its parent company, Ho-Chunk Inc., innovated this summer on a casino, racing and entertainment complex at Horsemen’s Park in Omaha.

Sullivan acknowledged that the changing casino landscape in Nebraska “will have some impact” on the Iowa casino, but said those changes have not influenced the Ponca tribe’s plans.

“From day one, we planned to grow,” she said. “We had no influence from outside entities.”

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