The state of Iowa has found an unlikely ally in its quest to block the Ponca Tribe from opening a casino in Carter Lake.
According to Omaha World-Herald, the state of Nebraska has joined Iowa in its federal lawsuit seeking to stop the development of a casino on five acres of land in Carter Lake, which is owned by the Ponca Tribe.
Nebraska named the National Indian Gaming Commission and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which administers the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as its defendants.
The two states have different reasons for wanting to stop the Ponca Tribe from constructing a casino. Nebraska, where casino gambling remains illegal, fears that the casino opening will result in the rise of problem gamblers in its own backyard. Iowa, on the other hand, is concerned that the opening of the tribal casino will result in less tax revenue collection from the state’s non-Indian gambling outlets.
The last time that Nebraska and Iowa joined forces in a legal battle was in 2007 when they successfully blocked a similar Ponca proposal.
In its federal complaint, Nebraska Deputy Solicitor General said that “the federal government had its second chance ‘to get it right.’ It has failed, and it is incumbent upon the judiciary to rectify that failure.”
Seminole Tribe green lights $700M Florida casino expansion plan
Meanwhile, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has given the go signal for the start of the $700 million expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
The multimillion-dollar project is part of a $2.4-billion upgrade of the tribe’s properties in Tampa and South Florida, according to Fox 13. The project includes the construction of a new 15-story hotel tower with an additional 564 hotel rooms and suites, as well as a new 20,000 sq.ft. foot spa, restaurants and extra parking.
Aside from the rooms, the tribe plans to increase the number of its slot machines and tables to 5,000 and 200, respectively. The Seminoles estimate that the construction will be completed in the summer of 2019.
“We’re really changing the property to a full resort destination,” Tampa Seminole Hard Rock President Joe Lupo said, according to the news outlet. “[Guests will have] a great sense of arrival with an atrium, [a] big chandelier that oversees Elvis Presley’s piano [sitting] on a bed of water.”