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Iowa AG sues to block Carter Lake casino

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August 25 2008

DES MOINES - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa asking the court to overturn the National Indian Gaming Commission's decision to allow the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska to build a $250 million casino in Carter Lake.

A statement from the attorney general's office said "We believe that the NIGC decision, issued on December 31, 2007, is contrary to an initial determination by the commission, and its own legal counsel, that the Carter Lake parcel does not qualify as 'restored lands' that can be used for Indian gaming."

"...It is the opinion of the office of the general counsel that the land in Carter Lake, Iowa, though 'Indian lands' within the meaning of the (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act), is not restored land. ... Gaming is therefore not permissible on the Carter Lake land under IGRA. The Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, concurs in this analysis."

The statement continued: "The Ponca Tribe previously had noted publicly and had acknowledged in writing that the Carter Lake parcel did not qualify as gaming-eligible 'restored lands' under federal law. Our lawsuit is predicated on the fact that the Commission erred in concluding that the Carter Lake parcel qualifies as 'restored lands' that are eligible under federal law to be used for gaming."

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has filed a similar lawsuit to stop the project. Nebraska claims an interest in the case because of Carter Lake's proximity to Omaha.

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