TAMA, IA - Members of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa approved a referendum last week to allow alcohol sales at the Meskwaki Bingo-Casino-Hotel west of Tama. The 229-122 vote ends a ban that goes back to 1857 when the tribe first settled there.
The election result must by certified by the U.S. Department of the Interior before becoming effective. The process for acquiring the necessary government approvals will take six months to a year.
The Meskwaki casino is the only Iowa casino that does not sale alcohol. Tribal Council Chairman, Adrian Pushetonequa, acknowledges the increased competition from new casinos in Riverside and Waterloo. He said "We looked at our revenues, and we deemed it was important to have alcohol sales."
Sales will be limited to certain areas of the casino with sections reserved for non-drinking customers. "The whole casino itself isn't going to have the appearance of a bar," Pushetonequa added.
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