Ho-Chunk Ready To Build Three Casinos After Nebraska Approval

Split Image of Four Casino Games
With Nebraska voters solidly approving Las Vegas-style gambling at the state’s horse tracks during Tuesday’s election, Ho-Chunk Inc. says it is ready to spend $300M to build three casinos at horse tracks in South Sioux City, Omaha, and Lincoln.

Ho-Chunk, which bought Atokad Park at South Sioux City in 2016, joined forces with the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association to collect enough signatures to place the measures in the ballot of Tuesday’s US Elections. They were successful this time around, after failing to do so two years ago. The horsemen’s group will partner with WarHorse in managing the proposed Nebraska casinos.

Said Mike Newin, CEO and GM of Horseman’s Park Lincoln Race track:

“The casinos are going to employ over 4600 people, but we can’t turn a slot machine on or take a sports wager of playing a blackjack game until the gaming commission is established and regulations are ready to go.”

Finalizing the details and passing the legislation will take some time. But that’s just formality. Getting the approval was the biggest hurdle. And it passed that with flying colors.

65% Approval

65% of voters said YES to three ballot initiatives that would amend Nebraska’s constitution to allow casinos as the state’s six licensed horse tracks, with some the revenues to be collected from the casinos going to property tax relief and local governments.

Proponents of the measures have long argued that Nebraskans cross the state border to gamble at casinos in Iowa and other nearby states, and spend over $500M in doing so. By allowing Nebraska casinos at the state’s race tracks, that revenue can be captured and its benefits enjoyed by the state.

But Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Nebraska Football team coach Tom Osborne, and other opponents of the initiative warned that the approval of Nebraska casinos would lead to more bankruptcies, crime, and other social ills that are associated with gambling addiction.

Ready to Move Forward

Ho-Chunk Inc, which is the economic entity of the Winnebago Tribe, revealed that they have already formed a new group called WarHorse Gaming LLC, which will manage the proposed casinos. According to Ho-Chunk CEO Lance Morgan, WarHorse was just formed this week.

If all goes well, Morgan said that construction will commence next spring. The tracks in Lincoln and Omaha already have facilities and could start gaming after six months. On the other hand, Morgan estimates that it would take around nine months to build a Nebraska casino is Atokad, which only has a race track right now.

Additional live racing dates will be added at the race tracks as part of the expanded gambling plan. In recent years, Ho-Chunk held just one date of live racing at Atokad which is the minimum to retain a state license. However, with the expected boom in gambling which will be brought about by the Nebraska casinos, they are expanding the schedule.

Legal Sports Betting Gets Approval in Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota

Sports Betting Graphic and Man Holding Fan of Money
Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota moved one step closer to joining the legal sports betting market in the United States after voters said yes during Tuesday’s elections.

As part of the 2020 USA Elections, prop measures to legalize sports betting were on the ballots of Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota. All three states voted favorably to allow legal sports betting in their jurisdiction. However, the regulatory frameworks on how sports betting will be conducted will still have to be formulated and that will take a while.

A Landslide in Three States

Louisiana residents voted on the prop by each individual parish. The results were in favor of the legalization of sports betting with 55 out of 64 parishes voting in the affirmative. The vote was expected because Louisiana’s neighbors Mississippi and Arkansas have legalized sports betting in 2018 and 2019, respectively. With Texas still not permitting legal sports betting, Louisiana can now take away some of the market.

In Maryland, the voting was done statewide and the vote was an overwhelming YES from all 24 districts of Maryland. The outcome of the vote should be good news for The Washington Football Team who are staying in Maryland. Team owner Dan Snyder has publicly stated that he wants to offer sports betting in the new NFL stadium that he is planning to build.

,Out in South Dakota, the voting was focused to the city limits of Deadwood only and the tribal casinos. As was with the case of Maryland, the vote was strongly for the YES with the prop passed by a 216,673 to 153,611 margin. That means that sports fans visiting Deadwood will soon be able to bet on sports at casinos like the Silverado-Franklin Historic Hotel & Gaming Complex and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort.

U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Decision

The landscape of United States sports betting has changed drastically since the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 2018 decision to repeal the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That law stood for 26 years and limited sports betting primarily to the state of Nevada.

Since the ruling, legal sports betting has operated in 19 states and the District of Columbia. North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington have recently passed legislation to legalize sports betting and are gearing up to launch their respective sports betting markets.

On the other hand, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, and Vermont have active bills that are pending legislative approval. Once Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota get up and running, more than half of the states in the U.S. will have legal sports betting.

US Casino Companies Ask Congress for Financial Help

The land-based gambling industry in the United States is in trouble. As the new coronavirus spreads around the country, more casinos are being forced to close down. As a result, several major US casino companies are now asking Congress for emergency aid.L’Auberge Casino

These companies are facing a very difficult road. It may be months before they’re able to open their doors to the public again. Today, we’re going to look at which states have forced casinos to close and how this industry is handling the new regulations.

Gambling Industry Continues to Be Hit With Tough Regulations

As of now, more than 5,300 individuals in the United States have tested positive for Covid-19. This virus is showing a unique ability to spread and containment efforts around the country are proving ineffective. As more cases are revealed, states are introducing tougher regulations.

One industry that’s being severely affected is the land-based gambling industry. In many states, lawmakers have forced all casinos to shut their doors. This includes Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey.

Obviously, this is costing these casinos a huge amount of money every single day. The troubling thing is that gaming companies have no clue when their venues will be able to open again. Unless infection rates begin to plummet, it’s unlikely they will be able to accept patrons.

Based on the current trend, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. The lack of proper testing protocols in the country has contributed to a huge number of cases going unreported. No one really knows how many people in the US currently have Covid-19.

It’s an unprecedented time for US casino companies. Some are now going to the government in search of emergency relief.

US Casino Companies Request Help From Congress

In many parts of the country, the land-based gambling industry is hugely important. Las Vegas, for example, relies considerably on its gambling revenue. In this city, tourism is at an all-time low and most major casino-resorts have already closed their doors.

Many companies are already suffering greatly from these casino closures. Today, several began asking for emergency aid from Congress. The American Gaming Association claims that nearly 40% of casino employees are already being affected by the coronavirus regulations.

This comprehensive package would most likely come in the form of a bailout for major casino operators. It would be similar to what the government has offered to airlines and cruise companies. Several other relief options are also being considered.

The American Gaming Association commented on the situation in an official statement this week.

“As state governments close casinos as a part of the urgent public health response to COVID-19, elected leaders should move just as urgently to support the workers and businesses who will bear the brunt of those effects,” the statement said. “Our immediate priorities are actions that provide liquidity to allow us to support employees.”  

The US gambling industry currently supports nearly 2 million individuals. Obviously, this makes it an extremely important industry for many parts of the country. We’ll need to wait and see how Congress responds to this request over the next few days.

What to Expect in the Coming Months

Even the top health experts in the country are having a difficult time predicting how this situation will play out. The future depends greatly on how individuals across the country respond to the situation. Just about everyone understands that things will get worse before they get better, though.

Many more cases are going to be announced in the coming weeks. The country’s top health expert believes we may see the infection peak around 45 days from now. During this time, it’s unlikely that casinos will be able to operate.

Some states have yet to close their casino markets. It’s still unclear how these US casino companies will respond to these new regulations.

Interestingly, we’re seeing a major increase in online gambling right now. More and more individuals are choosing to stay at home to practice social distancing. Many are choosing to make wagers online while self-isolating.

There are a huge number of fantastic US internet casinos available nowadays. Most of them are fantastic. Feel free to check some of them out and see all of the different games being offered!

It’s a tough time for US casino companies right now. Hopefully, the government is able to help out. Stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks!

Kansas Senate Passes Bill to Move Sports Betting Forward

Court Gavel
While the Kansas Senate has been back-and-forth on sports betting for the past few months, they came together on Wednesday for the first time and finally passed the bill forward. Bill SB 283 passed 23-15.

This is a major advancement for the Sunflower state, but it wasn’t done easily. The debate went on for over four hours. Hot topics of discussion were where the revenue would go, and how it would be divvied up, whether horse or greyhound racing would be included, and what amount of the revenue would be set aside for gambling addiction education.

i
Senator Tom Holland attempted to get an amendment pass that would seek to replace the bill, but it failed to get support. The amendment wanted to allocate power to the state for future negotiations with sportsbook operators and casinos.

In the committee, there were no opponents of the bill. This was rare for a gambling bill in the state, according to Sen. Jeff Longbine, carrier of the bill. The Senate passed the bill through by a voice vote.

The state voted to allow both on-site casino betting and mobile betting. The state is asking to get 5.5% of on-site casino revenue and 8% of the mobile betting revenue.

Sports Betting Details Under SB 283

For sports betting revenue obtained from retail operations, operators are expected to pay a 7.5% tax. Online revenue will be taxed at 10%.

Under SB 283, there could be up to eight online sports betting operators in the state, with the casinos receiving two licenses each.

Senate President Susan Wagle got an amendment passed that will put 2% of the sports betting revenue toward addiction counseling and education. According to Wagle, 54,000 Kansans struggle with a gambling problem, and of that number, 75% struggle with other addictions as well.

Revenue Predictions

In a fiscal note from Kansas’ Director of the Budget, Larry Campbell, he details modest fiscal expectations. Campbell says he expects around $500 million in the sports betting handle. The Kansas Lottery estimates anywhere between $360-$600 million in annual handle. As detailed in the note, the number could potentially go up to $900 after five years.

What’s Next?

With the Senate passing the bill, next down the line is the House, and if passed there, it would move on to the governor.

With this bill, sports betting would be permitted in state-owned casinos. If it passes, tribal casinos will be able to apply to allow sports betting as well.

The passing of the bill will also enable the state to collect on college and professional bets that they believe are currently going on under the radar.

“It’s not a new outlet because I think we know that it’s happening, we hope that it’s a new safer outlet,” Lawrence Senator Marci Francisco said. “Why not have it controlled by the state, and then make sure for those people who are participating in that wagering that it’s non-offshore, that they know that their bets will be acknowledged.”

Around 100k in Attendance for 2020 Nevada Democratic Caucus

State of Nevada Flag Waving
Up nearly 16,000 people in attendance from 2016’s caucus, which saw close to 84,000 people turn out, this year’s numbers toppled almost 100k, according to the Nevada State Democratic Party.

The vast majority of that number, nearly 75,000 people, showed up to participate in in-person early voting. In-person voting was held at several precinct locations around Nevada over a four-day period.

For Saturday’s designated caucus day, around a quarter of the people showed up, about 25,000 in numbers. Many of those in attendance were first-time caucus-goers, according to a spokesperson for the state party.

Caucus’ Big Winners and Losers

As of Monday, roughly 96 percent of precincts have reported the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, Sanders, as the projected Democratic winner, earning 6,589 county delegates. This was Biden’s best finish thus far, ending in second place. However, Biden could still win South Carolina, where he’s leading in the poles.

After dazzling in the Democratic debate, Senator Warren failed to continue the momentum at the Nevada caucus as she trailed behind. Klobuchar earned the least amount of country delegates, at 595.

A look at the numbers:

Sanders – 6,589

Biden – 2,872

Buttigieg – 1,960

Warren – 1,381

Steyer – 652

Klobuchar – 595

How Sanders Sweeped Nevada

Sanders victory was backed by three distinct, yet overlapping areas of support: Younger voters, liberal voters, and Hispanic voters. The Nevada Culinary Union also poured out their overwhelming support to the democratic candidate.

Sanders win was important ahead of California and Texas, two states with a significant Latino population.

According to the New York Times:

The polls showed Mr. Sanders winning men and women; whites and Latinos; voters in all but the oldest age group (17-29, 30-44 and 45-64); those with college degrees and those without. He was carrying union households and nonunion households, self-identified liberal Democrats (by a wide margin) and moderate and conservative ones (narrowly).

Caucus Affects Democratic Candidates Betting Odds

Nevada’s favorable win for Sanders has put him further in the lead to win the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election.

After the Nevada caucuses, Sanders went from EVEN on Friday to -120, making it the first time the race has been a candidate go below plus odds. While Sanders has a good showing in Nevada and is slated to have a strong showing in South Carolina this week, the landslide victory by Sanders has Biden’s odds up to +1000 from +800.

The following odds are provided by Bovada, as of February 23.

Odds To Win The 2020 Democratic Nomination

Candidate Current February 21 February 12 February 5
Bernie Sanders -120 EVEN +110 +150
Michael Bloomberg +325 +400 +250 N/A
Pete Buttigieg +900 +600 +500 +450
Joe Biden +1000 +800 +1000 +450
Elizabeth Warren +5000 +2000 +2500 N/A
Hilary Clinton +2500 +2000 +2000 +2000
Amy Klobuchar +10000 +4000 +1500 +6600
Tom Steyer +25000 +10000 +15000 +15000
Deval Patrick +25000 +10000 +15000 +25000
Michelle Obama +10000 +10000 +10000 N/A
Tulsi Gabbard +25000 +15000 +20000 +20000

Odds To Win The Democratic South Carolina Primary

Candidate Odds of Winning SC Primary
Bernie Sanders -150
Joe Biden +110
Pete Buttigieg +5000
Tom Steyer +5000
Amy Klobuchar +10000
Elizabeth Warren +10000

Virginia Lawmakers Take Steps to Legalize Casinos in the State

Wavy Flag for State of Virginia
On Tuesday, a senate committee advanced legislation that would allow voters across five key Virginia cities to hold local referendums to approve casinos. Voter approval will be key before the state can proceed forward with any more momentum to legalize casinos.

Those southern cities include Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Currently, Virginia is one of the few states that disallow casinos of any kind in the state. However, the state has been moving toward casino legalization within the last few years, after decades of opposing it.

The Case for Legalization

The biggest sponsor for casino legislation in the state has been Democratic Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth. He’s adamantly advocated for the people of Virginia to be given the opportunity to determine their own destiny, calling the legalization of casinos a “no-brainer.”

“It’s been 25 years coming!” said Lucas during the first baby steps the Senate committee took last June in favor of getting this bill passed.

Those in favor of legalization argue that large-scale resorts that include casinos will boost the economy, creating new employment opportunities by the amount of jobs that will be generated as a result, as well effectively increasing tax revenues.

In a report recently released by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, it found that resort-style casinos located in Virginia’s aforementioned southern cities could generate around $260 million annually in new state gaming taxes, and create around 5,000 jobs.

The Case Against Legalization

Conservative groups aren’t optimistic over the benefits legalized casinos could provide to the state, arguing that it will instead create increased issues, such as high rates of people suffering from gambling addictions, along with higher crime rates.

These groups have also warned lawmakers that wealthy developers will be the ones who benefit from the news casinos, not the state’s poor.

It appears the conservative influence on the state has recently started to fizzle out, with the democratic win of the General Assembly majority back in November. It’s the first time democrats have won a majority in the state in over 20 years. The reason for the recent advancement in legislation can be seen as a direct result of GOP leaders losing their influencing power in keeping legislation at a standstill.

Keeping Casinos in the Southern Part of the State

The decision to focus on Virginia’s southern cities as possible casino locations has to do with lawmakers lack of enthusiasm that a casino could do as well in Northern Virginia. This has to do with the fact that MGM Resorts International $1.4 billion resort and casino recently opened in Maryland, a hop, skip, and a jump away from nearby Virginia.

Located across the Potomac River, just outside of Washington DC, MGM National Harbor has the current monopoly in the area. It boasts having a gaming floor “bigger than the White House,” over 300 luxury rooms, and a 3,000-seat theater.

What Comes Next?

Quiet negotiations are currently taking place with regards to legislation, discussing important key points such as the number of casinos the state will allow, and who will be appointed to run them. Jim McGlothlin, a wealthy coal industrialist who is planning to build a Hard Rock casino and resort in Bristol, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, who have their sights set on casinos in Richmond and Norfolk, are major contenders as far as potential casino owners go.

Martin Kent, CEO of The United Company, is also looking to have a casino in Bristol. He said this in regard to the legislation surrounding making that happen:

“Even in Virginia, there’s a lot of confusion about what happened last year. I think it’s best probably summed up this way: Any major issue that Virginia, its legislature, is looking to pass will oftentimes go through a re-enactment provision.”

Other key topics in Virginia’s legislature this year are the gambling issues that may arise with legalized casinos, as well as determining whether to legalize online sports betting and/or ban betting machines in convenience stores across the state.

Slot machines in Virginia’s convenience stores fell under a legally gray area in a state that’s been generally opposed to gambling. Since it was argued that a game that involves skill rather than chance is otherwise legal, it allowed for the implementation of slot machines to be overlooked during that time.

Legislation on Hotel Resort Fees is Introduced to US House

Nevada, and Las Vegas, in particular, is home to many of the best casino-resorts in the world. Millions of people stay in these resorts every year, yet many are beginning to complain about the hidden fees that are added on to their bills. Last week, a bill was presented to the US House that will require hotels to clearly feature their resort fees.Animated Image Of Bill And Casino Chip

It’s a welcome sight for many who have been blindsided by these additional fees. Today, we’re going to look at why this bill has been presented to the House. We’ll also talk about what exactly resort fees are. Let’s get into it!

Resort Fees: Why Are They Charged?

If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel-resort, there’s a good chance you’ve come across a resort fee. Essentially, these are fees that hotels will charge their guests on top of the normal room rates and government fees. They go towards funding hotel’s different amenities including Wifi, gym/pool access, and even parking.

Today, most major hotels charge these fees. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to find out how much you will be charged until after you’ve booked your room. All of the top Las Vegas hotels operating today charge resort fees.

There are a few different ways to find out how much you’ll need to pay the resort you are staying at. Sometimes, hotels will list the fee rates directly on their website. Others don’t mention these at all. You can usually contact the hotel that you’re planning to stay at to find more information on these hidden fees.

Many have begun to complain about the fees that different hotel-resorts are charging. Recently, several lawmakers presented a new bill to the US House that calls for hotels to clearly feature all fees for guests. Officials in Nevada are now reviewing this bill to study its ramifications.

NV Resort Association Set to Study New Bill

As we just mentioned, several lawmakers have presented a new bill that will require all hotels to list their resort fees for guests to see. These hotels will no longer be able to advertise room rates without including the hidden fees attached. This week, the Nevada Resort Association is set to review this bill and study the impact it will have on hotel companies in the state.

This association has 71 different members, 59 of which are based in Southern Nevada. Officials in the Resort Association claim that they have not yet reviewed the details of this bill and cannot comment on its conditions. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Congresswoman, believes the bill will benefit travelers who may be unaware of the hidden fees that different hotels charge.

“This summer, we witnessed a record number of Americans take the opportunity to travel,” she said. “Unfortunately, this also meant a record number of travelers were subjected to deceptive hidden fees charged by hotels, motels and other places of accommodation. It is projected that in 2019, over $3 billion in revenue alone will be collected from consumers due to these hidden fees. Consumers should be able to enjoy their vacation without being ripped off and financially burdened. This bill would require that the prices advertised by hotels and online travel agencies must include all mandatory fees that will be charged to a consumer, excluding taxes.”

This would be a major change for hotels around the country. Several groups have already expressed their support for this bill.

Several Groups Support New Hotel Fee Bill

This week, two major groups have claimed that this new bill will benefit travelers. Consumer Reports and Travelers United are both pushing for lawmakers in the House to approve the bill. Director of financial policy for Consumer Reports, Anna Laitan, thinks hotels should be responsible for listing their fees.

“Travelers shouldn’t have to read the fine print to figure out all the fees they’ll be charged for staying at a hotel,” she said. “Hotels should be required to disclose all fees in their advertised rate, so consumers won’t get stung with a higher bill than what they’re expecting to pay when booking a room.”

The FTC is beginning to get involved, as well. Years ago, this government body called on dozens of hotels to begin disclosing their resort fees for guests. It wasn’t entirely effective, as many individuals have continued to complained about these hotel’s hidden fees.

Resort fees in Las Vegas hotels range from $15 to $45. MGM recently announced that their fees would increase. If this bill is approved, these hotels will be required to include all fees to room rates. We’ll need to wait and see how the country’s top lawmakers approach these new regulations.

Make sure to stay tuned for more US casino-hotel news over the next few weeks!

DOJ has Officially Filed an Appeal to the Wire Act Ruling

Online gambling is growing more popular throughout the United States. Several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware have legalized internet casino gambling. Many now allow online sports betting, as well. This week, the Department of Justice officially filed an appeal to the Department of Justice’s recent Wire Act ruling.Appeal Written On Paper

It’s disappointing, yet not entirely surprising news. The DOJ had until August 19th to file this appeal. It’s clear that they’re ready to continue pushing the opinion that they made back in November. Let’s look at exactly what’s happening here.

DOJ Files New Opinion on the Wire Act

The Interstate Wire Act of 1961, also known as the Federal Wire Act, is a US federal law that prohibits placing wagers using interstate transmissions or wire communications that cross state lines. Initially, this law was set in place to crack down on organized crime. Back in the 50s and 60s, crime groups would use gambling as a way to launder their money.

The Wire Act was eventually changed to apply to online gambling, as well. For years, internet gambling that crossed state lines was prohibited. In 2011, under the Obama administration, the DOJ ruled that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting.

As a result, several states began offering forms of online gambling. New Hampshire currently allows Mega Millions lottery tickets to be purchased online. This lottery is a multi-state lottery, meaning it would have been illegal before the DOJ’s 2011 Wire Act opinion.

In November of 2018, things took a turn for the worst. The DOJ reversed it’s Wire Act ruling, claiming that all forms of online gambling are illegal. States with legal internet gambling options quickly fought back in the courts. The DOJ isn’t giving up, though.

District Court States that 2011 Wire Act Ruling is Correct

New Hampshire was one of the first states to fight against the DOJ’s most recent opinion on the Wire Act. This state claims that it would force their online lottery operations to shut down. This would cost the state millions of dollars in revenue each year.

On June 3rd of this year, US District Court Judge of New Hampshire Judge Paul Barbadoro stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. Other forms of gambling, including online lottery sales and internet poker, are perfectly legal.

With the court’s decision, the 2018 DOJ opinion was essentially shut down. States could still offer forms of online gambling that crossed state lines. Barbadoro gave the Department of Justice until August 19th to file an official appeal to the new Wire Act ruling.

That appeal is now being made. Today, the DOJ has officially filed an appeal against New Hampshire. The courts will now be forced to hear the DOJ’s side of the story and make another ruling on the matter. One of the country’s top online gambling trade groups is quickly voicing its disapproval.

iDEA Growth Comments on DOJ’s Decision to Appeal

It’s clear that both states and online gambling companies are displeased with the DOJ’s decision to continue fighting this issue. Internet gambling is proving to be extremely lucrative for many states, including New Jersey, which is experiencing unprecedented rises in its gambling revenue. Today, the top online gambling trade group in the US, iDEA Growth, began calling on the DOJ to drop its appeal.

This group claims the appeal is part of a political move. Jeff Ifrah, founder of iDEA Growth, released an official statement on the matter.

“The Department’s action, while hardly unexpected, is certainly unwarranted,” he said. “DOJ generally files appeals of adverse district court decisions as a matter of course.  We hope that, rather than engaging in a protracted, expensive and ultimately unsuccessful legal fight, the Department will take this opportunity to negotiate a settlement which will focus the Wire Act and DOJ’s enforcement resources on the right targets – the unlicensed illegal offshore Internet gambling operators who do not create jobs or tax revenue in the U.S. and do not appropriately protect consumers.”

Ifrah certainly has a point. It’s unlikely that the DOJ appeal will be successful. The New Hampshire court’s Wire Act ruling was made with careful consideration. Instead of continuing a legal battle, Ifrah argues, the DOJ should focus on working to better regulate the US casino websites that are based in other countries.

It’s an interesting time for the US online gambling industry. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on the situation over the next few weeks!

Ponca Tribe Wins Fight to Keep Prairie Flower Casino Open

For more than a decade, the Ponca Tribe has been fighting with lawmakers in Iowa and Nebraska over the rights to operate a casino in western Iowa. The state governments claim that the tribe is running the Prairie Flower Casino illegally. This week, a US District Judge rejected the motions filed by the two states.

Prairie Flower Casino In Iowa

It’s a major win for this Nebraska-based tribe. Today, we’re going to look at why the states and Ponca tribe are fighting. We’ll also talk about what the recent legal victory means for the tribe and their popular casino. Let’s get started!

Iowa and Nebraska Continue Fight With Ponca Tribe

As we just mentioned, this dispute has been brewing for more than a decade. Years ago, the Ponca tribe purchased land in Carter Lake in western Iowa. Initially, the tribe claimed that they intended to build a health center on the land. Later on, the tribe formally requested federal permission to open a casino here.

Council members and state officials were quick to push back. The land is technically situated in Iowa, on the western side of the Missouri River. Flooding in the 1800s caused the river to shift course, pushing carter lake land on the Nebraska side of the river. Politicians in both states are against a casino in their territory.

Lawmakers in Iowa feel that the casino will take valuable tax revenue from the state as it heads into Nebraska. State officials in Nebraska fear that a gambling venue in Carter Lake will draw crime into nearby Omaha. As a result, both have been pursuing legal action against the casino.

This hasn’t deterred the Ponca Tribe. The Prairie Flower Casino was opened in 2017 after receiving a federal commission-approved casino license. It’s grown to become one of the most popular gambling venues in the Iowa-Nebraska area.

Ponca Tribe Receives Permission to Continue Operating Prairie Flower Casino

On Monday, US District Judge Stephanie Rose rejected the motions set by lawmakers in Iowa and Nebraska to shut down the casino. The state’s hoped to see another review of the May decision to allow this casino to operate. That month, the National Indian Gaming Commission concluded that the casino sites on restored tribal land, which makes a casino legal.

Forcing this casino to close would cut off a major revenue stream for the Ponca Tribe. It would also result in the elimination of hundreds of jobs for local employees working in the casino. Judge Stephanie Rose gave her explanation for the decision to allow this casino on Monday.

“Plaintiffs admit this would have had a negative economic impact on the Tribe,” she said. “Other courts have declined to vacate agency decisions when doing so would have adverse economic consequences. It is not clear, however, how the Tribe’s casino is any more detrimental than the three casinos, licensed by the state of Iowa, that are already operating in neighboring Council Bluffs.”

This certainly makes sense. Three other casinos currently operate in Iowa. Rose seems to have concluded that the state’s push to derail the casino was based only on money. We’ll need to wait and see whether or not lawmakers in Iowa and Nebraska decide to continue their legal battle.

Online Gambling Grows in Iowa and Nebraska

Land-based casino gambling is extremely popular in both Iowa and Nebraska. Unfortunately, many of these gaming venues are located hours away from many locals here. For this reason, more people are choosing to make their bets over the internet.

Today, there are a huge range of great US casino websites available in both of these states. Most of the sites here allow their players to make bets on all popular casino games including blackjack, Texas Hold’em, and slot games. The best sites will also offer a range of safe payment options.

These sites allow you to play casino games from anywhere with an internet connection. Most are available using a mobile device as well. There’s no more convenient way to play your favorite casino games today.

For now, the Ponca Tribe has permission to keep operating the Prairie Flower Casino. Hope is that now, lawmakers in Iowa and Nebraska will stop pushing to close this gambling establishment down. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on this situation over the next few months!

Lori Lightfoot Discusses Potential Chicago Casino Sites

Illinois voters have recently approved plans for several new commercial casino establishments to be built around the state. This includes a brand new casino in the state’s most populous city, Chicago. This week, Illinois mayor Lori Lightfoot discussed a few potential Chicago casino sites. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

It’s an exciting time for this state’s gambling market. It’s clear that officials here want this casino in Chicago to be successful. Let’s take a quick look at where this new gambling establishment could be located.

Illinois’ Voters Approve New Casinos

In June of this year, lawmakers in Illinois presented a bill that calls for more casinos, legalized sports betting, and a new gambling infrastructure program. Voters in this state could decide whether or not to allow this gambling expansion.

Illinois has always had some pretty lenient gambling laws. Land-based casino gambling was fully legalized here in 1991. At this time, however, only casinos located on riverboats were allowed to operate. Over the past several years, laws changed to allow casinos to operate on land. There are also a huge number of online casinos in Illinois that are currently available.

State officials here have been working hard to increase gambling revenue. Hope was that the bill to expand casino gambling would accomplish this goal. Voters in the state felt that expanding the casino gambling operations was a good idea, as well.

This bill, which Governor JB Pritzker called the “the most comprehensive reconstruction effort in this state’s history,” allows for six new casinos in Illinois. As we mentioned above, this includes a new casino in the Windy City. The mayor of Illinois has recently begun to talk about the potential Chicago casino sites being considered.

Possible Chicago Casino Sites

The new casino in Chicago will be the first in the city’s history. It’s a huge development for this city, which is well-known for having one of the most passionate casino and sports gambling fan bases in the country. A legal gaming venue here is expected to bring in some massive revenue figures.

Of course, there are many steps that need to be taken before this casino will be constructed. As soon as this bill was approved, several analysts began wondering where exactly the Chicago casino would be constructed. The city’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, began to shed light on this earlier this week.

According to Lightfoot, there five potential Chicago casino sites are being constructed. All of them lie in the South and West side of the city. One potential location, in Bronzeville, is quickly being shut down by other city officials. The other potential locations can be seen below.

  • A site near the Harborside International Golf Center site at 111th and the Bishop Ford Freeway.
  • Pershing Road and State Street.
  • Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue.
  • The former U.S. Steel parcel at 80th and Lake Shore Drive.

Governor Pritzker has made it clear that he wants the casino constructed outside of the downtown business area. Samir Mayeker, deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development, claims that finding the right site is hugely important for the success of the casino’s future.

“This is not about sites. This is about putting in test cases for … an economic feasibility study,” he said. 

Concerns Linger Over Chicago’s City Future

It’s an extremely exciting time in Illinois’ gambling scene. It’s also great to see officials in this city looking for quality Chicago casino sites. Unfortunately, many feel this casino is facing an uphill battle.

Much of this is due to the tax rates that Illinois is charging for this future casino. It will be the highest-taxed gambling venue in Illinois and will cost companies millions just to secure a license to begin operating here. A number of companies, including Las Vegas Sands, states that it has no intention of entering into the Chicago gaming scene.

Once these Chicago casino sites are narrowed down, gambling companies can begin to weigh the pros and cons of operating here. Some of the biggest names in Chicago are pushing for the casino to be built in certain areas. Michael Edwards, CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance, believes that the Loop (Chicago’s central business area) is the perfect place for this new casino.

“Chicago Loop Alliance has been involved in past conversations around a casino in the city, and we hope that involvement will continue with this administration. During past discussions, a site in the Loop made sense to us given the area’s access to transportation, lodging, entertainment, retail, and other amenities.” 

Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the state’s decision for Chicago casino sites. We’ll keep you informed as developments come out!