Last year, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska announced plans to build a casino on property they own in Carter Lake, Iowa. However, it faces significant legal opposition.
Lawsuits immediately loomed following the announcement. The city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and now Nebraska, have filed a federal lawsuit to block the construction of the casino.
Suzanne Gage, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, told the Omaha World Herald, “Since one cannot travel to or from Carter Lake without traveling through Nebraska, this means that Carter Lake’s gambling problem will become Nebraska’s gambling problem.”
On top of that, the casino would be within walking distance of Open Door Mission. In a March 2018 press release the Open Door Mission expressed their concern:
“The prevalence of problem gambling across homeless populations in America is documented and real,” Gregory said. “And part of the issue behind problem gambling is the proximity of gambling establishments to at-risk populations. Open Door Mission has seen an increase in problem gambling since casinos came to the area in 1996.”
There is not a worse place a casino could be built than within walking distance of a major homeless shelter. This proposal, green-lighted by an unelected government commission in Washington, threatens to jeopardize the entire mission of one of Omaha’s most vital ministries.
Nebraska’s elected officials should stand with the Nebraska Attorney General and protect the community surrounding Carter Lake, including Downtown Omaha and the Open Door Mission from predatory gambling.