GWGL Update from Pat

Greetings, it has been awhile since I last caught you up on what’s happening in the
“Gambling World” or even better the “Anti-Gambling World”.

We are now in our 25th year of success – no expanded gambling in Nebraska in the last 25 years. This is a miracle and one for which we give God all the glory.

But, do you think that the gambling interests have given up?  No way! They are back again this year, greedier than ever.

Here’s what we are facing in 2020:


  • LB 980 by Sen. Tom Brandt
    Loosen restrictions on special lottery & raffle permits plus allow for on-line betting– this hearing was held on Jan. 27th and we sent two letters to the committee expressing our concerns that credit cards not be permitted with any form of betting. No action has been taken as yet.


The following Bills will be heard by the General Affairs committee on Feb. 10th at 1:30 PM in room #1510. We welcome attendance, testimonies, letters and most of all prayers that none of these Bills will be passed.


  • LR 295 CA by Sen. Justin Wayne
    Constitutional amendment to allow the Legislature to authorize, regulate, and tax any game of chance. This would have to go on the 2020 Ballot.
  • LB 971 by Sen. Justin Wayne
    Legalize sports betting by way of the State Lottery
  • LB 990 by Justin Wayne
    Permit sports betting, fantasy sports & poker as legal games of “skill”


Other gambling activities that we are monitoring:

  • The illegal Ponca Casino in Carter Lake is up and running but there are 2 lawsuits pending that we hope will shut them down. The court system can be very slow at times.
  • The Nebr. Racing Commission voted to put the “Dead Horse” slot machines in the Grand Island racetrack. These are full blown slot machines that play 30 “games” – 1 of which is old horse races, it is a farce. There are now 2 lawsuits to stop them, one of which is the Attn. General’s. So far, no machines have been installed yet so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
  • Then last but not least is the Winnebago tribe’s petition that is being circulated thru- out the state. They have put up $1.5 Million dollars so far to pay for this plot. (poor Indians) If they get enough signatures, get it on the 2020 ballot and it passes, we will have full blown casinos all over the state. What a disaster!

Well, that’s all for now – WHEW ! We thank you for your support all these many years and ask for your continued prayers that God will see fit to spare our great state this year and for many more to come.

Blessings, Pat

Chief Standing Bear

Gambling with Chief Standing Bear’s Legacy

How do you honor the legacy of not only one of the greatest historical figures in Nebraska history, but greatest civil rights leaders in World history?

Maybe with statues, or with schools, parks, and bridges named in their honor. Whatever the case, you likely wouldn’t ever think to include a casino on that list, especially for someone who fought against lies, broken promises, and grave injustice on behalf of the oppressed.

But that’s exactly what leaders of the Ponca Tribe are attempting to do today by naming their new casino in honor of Chief Standing Bear’s daughter, Prairie Flower, who died during the Ponca’s forced removal from their home on the Niobrara River to Indian territory in present-day Oklahoma.

While supposedly honoring the tribes past, this casino, comprised entirely of slot machines, will be an establishment designed to create and exploit addiction. And the most vulnerable, the poor, homeless, and downtrodden, will be the primary target.

Read More:

Sports Betting, Ponca Casino, and Slot Machines

Dear Supporters,

This has been a really rough summer. After coming off of our 23rd year of no expanded gambling in Nebraska, I was looking forward to a rest before the next Legislative session in January. That was not to be!

Our first blow came in May when the U.S.Supreme Court ruled that all states could now offer “Sports Betting.” That does not mean that Sports Betting will automatically occur in Nebraska. Legislation has to be passed first but we expect it will be a main topic when the Legislature reconvenes in January. Tom Osborne said, “I am pleased that it is a state issue, and the state will have a say, because so far Nebraskans for the most part have seen the fact that increased gambling does not improve the quality of life in a state. All you have to do is drive through some states where there’s a huge amount of gambling, and it seems to just pull the general culture down.”

Next on the list of bad news began in November 2017. A three member bureaucracy in D.C. decided that even though the Ponca tribe had lied to get 5 acres of land put into “Trust” for a “health clinic,” they would allow them to build a Ponca Casino on the Nebraska side of the Missouri river in Carter Lake, IA, just a few miles from downtown Omaha. This fallacy has been going on for years and was successfully defeated by both Nebraska and Iowa in the courts. This time the Ponca’s have decided to ignore the current court challenge and begin building. They plan to open next month and will eventually have over 2,000 slot machines in place. Ponca chairman Larry Wright is quoted as saying “Depending on how soon construction is complete the slot machines will have already collected tens of thousands of dollars before the case leaves the courtroom.” What an arrogant and blatant abuse of our justice system! Gambling with the Good Life filed an Amicus brief in Nebraska’s 2008 case that prevented the building of the casino, and we plan to do that again but this will cost us $20,000.00 and could take years to resolve. Meantime an “Injunction” was recently filed by a Carter Lake resident that hopefully will stop the building immediately.

In addition to Sports Betting and the Ponca Casino we also have over 2000 “Bank Shot” slot machines invading our great state. These are slot machines posing as “games of skill” and they were banned in Iowa. We need to get them banned here. This is another hurdle we face for the future.

All of this is a bit overwhelming at times and can really get us down. I have to remember that “God has called us to faithfulness, not results” so we must carry on and with your help we will.

As always prayer is our first line of defense and offense so please pray for wisdom, guidance, individuals and businesses to stand with us, and favor in the courts.

Secondly, we need financial support to pay the legal fees and extra expenses associated with these issues. Our operating expenses are minimal so everything we raise will go towards fees associated with these activities. Please consider a generous donation to keep Nebraska free from expanded gambling. Just one court brief will cost us $20,000.00 but the savings to the state will be in the millions when you consider the bankruptcies, embezzlements, increased crime and families torn apart by gambling addiction.

Please pray for these challenges and donate as much as possible so we can continue the fight. The “Good Life,” as we know it, is at stake not only for us but our children and grandchildren.


Pat Loontjer
Executive Director
Gambling with the Good Life

Ponca Casino On Nebraska’s Border May Open Soon Despite Lawsuit

In Carter Lake, Iowa The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is preparing the site for construction and finalizing agreements to reimburse the city for revenues lost by making the land tribal territory.
Bulldozers are preparing the land even as an effort by Iowa and Nebraska to block the casino is under review by a federal judge. Battles over its location stretch back more than a decade.
The push to proceed with construction began in June when the tribe hosted a low-key groundbreaking ceremony on four acres of land tucked amongst the town’s industrial properties.
Facing a small, sunlit crowd, with a bulldozer as a backdrop, Dwight Howe, the Ponca Tribe’s cultural affairs director offered a prayer in the Ponca’s native language.
“We want to be able to bring something to our nation, so we can truly be self-determined, truly be sovereign,” Howe explained in English to the audience.
Local media were not invited to the groundbreaking ceremony, but it can be seen on the tribe’s YouTube channel.
The ceremonial spades dug into soil just a few hundred feet from the Omaha city line, where casino gaming is forbidden. The lot is currently occupied by a discount tobacco story managed by the tribe. It’s sandwiched between a steel fabricating plant and a trucking company.
“The location is such that it is unique,” said Larry Wright, chair of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. “As we have said to everybody, we want to build positive relationships that are mutually beneficial.”
The tribe would not show NET News the architect drawings for the “phase one” casino, a stand-alone building housing up to 2,000 slot machines.
Wright said it would be “a first-rate facility.”
“We want to drive the user experience and provide first class hospitality,” he said.
Plans for a second phase are already in place, financed with proceeds from the first venture and loans from a large, Minnesota-based tribal gaming operation.
The tribe has told Carter Lake officials it will include a seven-story hotel (which may legally be placed on Nebraska land) linked to a more elaborate casino featuring table games like black jack and craps, similar to the large gaming resorts across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs.


Gambling Bills in the Legislature

Is it too much to ask for “NO” expanded gambling bills in 2018? The answer apparently is “NO”!!

This is a “short” year for the Nebraska legislature, 60 days, ending on April 18th, 2018. They have lots of important bills to discuss including closing a huge deficit in the budget but somehow a few pro-gambling Senators found a way to squeeze in a few gambling bills.

Here is what we are facing:

LB 469 “Fantasy Sports Betting” was a carry over bill from last year. It was debated for 3 hours on January 17th and then the speaker “pulled it” off the agenda. The sponsor, Senator Larson now has to show that he has at least 30 votes in order to bring it back. I understand he is working on that but it is a hard hill to climb, thank goodness.

LR 269CA is a Constitutional amendment by Senator Schumacher to create a “Sovereign” city – 36 miles square in the middle of Nebraska. He claims it is not intended for casinos but we can’t trust him. We testified against the bill on January 31st and it is stalled in committee now. Please pray it stays there.

LR 294CA is another Constitutional amendment that Senator Larson is proposing. It would change our Constitution to allow all gambling related decision be made and managed by the Legislature. Currently that is left to the voters of the state. We testified on this on February 12th and currently it is in committee. Pray that it dies a happy death there.

Update on Ponca Casino in Carter Lake, IA

Here we go again !

On November 15th the Ponca’s announced that they had finally (after 9 years on appeal) had gotten permission to build a casino on 5 acres of land in Carter Lake, Iowa (on Nebraska’s side of the Missouri). They had bought the land in 1999 under the pretense of building a Clinic. We knew they were lying because the few Ponca’s in Omaha reside in South Omaha. Why build a clinic in Carter Lake?

Well, it didn’t take long before they went back to Washington and asked for the land to be put “In Trust”. They were given the designation based on the fact that it was for a Clinic. Shortly thereafter they “changed their minds” and decided that a Casino would be better.

The states of Nebraska, Iowa and Council Bluffs appealed the ruling which was reversed and the Ponca’s challenged the decision.

So, now we are faced with the possibility of having a Casino a mile from downtown Omaha and across the road from our airport and the Open Door Mission. I understand that the Attorney Generals of Nebraska and Iowa are looking into reversing this travesty but much prayer is needed.

We have worked successfully for 22 years to keep expanded gambling out of Nebraska and now this.

Below is the time line for the history of the Ponca casino project.

Please pray for this situation and I will keep you informed.

Blessings, Pat




  • In 1877 flooding and shifting of the Missouri river left a small parcel of Iowa land (2,000 acres) on the Nebraska side of the river. This is Carter Lake, Iowa, population 3,300.
  • Carter Lake is just northeast of downtown Omaha and directly across from Eppley airport. It is within a short distance of the new Quest Center, Gallup University and the proposed stadium.
  • In 1962 the Federal Gov. at the request of the Ponca tribe terminated the tribe’s status and divided its land and money among its members which were less than 70 in number at that time.
  • In 1990 the Federal Gov. re recognized the Poncas as a tribe. This made them eligible for Federal funding of which they have made extensive use. They claim 1,000 members in Nebraska & Iowa but this has yet to be proven.
  • The Poncas are the smallest of Nebraska’s 4 tribes and have no reservation.
  • In 1999 the Ponca tribe purchased 5 acres of land in Carter Lake and had it taken into “Trust” in 2002 for the purpose of building a health clinic. There is no tribal interest in Carter Lake.
  • Tribal leaders repeatedly misled local and state officials in Iowa about the tribe’s actual intentions. Many times they reiterated that the land was for a clinic not a casino.
  • In Oct. 2007 (unbeknown to anyone in Nebraska) the Poncas appealed to the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to be able to build a casino on that land. It was denied because the site was not taken into Trust for gambling purposes under the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regulations. They appealed the decision.
  • On Dec. 31, 2007 the NIGC reversed their ruling and allowed permission, stating that although there had been deception on the part of the Ponca tribe they could not restrict their land usage.
  • The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Dept. of Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. This is a bureaucracy of 3 appointed tribal members.
  • Jan. 2008 the Sec. of Interior Dirk Kempthorne made a decision to tighten regulations allowing Indians to purchase land off reservations for gambling purposes. He correctly noted that since 1930 tribes have been permitted to put land in Trust for the purpose of tribal unity and the current rash of applications seem to have more to do with money then tribal cohesiveness.
  • On Jan. 17, 2008 Carter Lake Mayor said “I have no problems with casinos at all”. But he wondered how it would affect his police and volunteer fire department. And well he should as Indian casinos pay no taxes to local or state governments. Carter Lake would also be responsible for road maintenance and counseling for problem gamblers that would inevitably result from a casino within walking distance of Omaha’s north side.
  • Jan. 27, 2008 it was reported that many property owners surrounding the 5-acre parcel were willing to sell their land to the Poncas thus permitting their 5 acres to be used for the casino building alone.
  • On Jan. 30, 2008 Nebraska’s Attorney General filed an appeal on behalf of the state of Nebraska. Council Bluffs and the State of Iowa quickly joined us.
  • The case was heard on Oct. 31st and the judge ruled in our favor on Nov. 28, 2008.
  • The Ponca’s challenged this decision and it lingered in Washington for 9 years.
  • On Nov. 14, 2017 the Ponca’s got the 2008 decision reversed. They are preparing to build a casino in Carter Lake with 2000 slot machines, 50 table games and 150 hotel rooms.
  • Dec. 2017, Council Bluffs filed a lawsuit to prevent this. Nebraska and Iowa plan to follow.
  • What happens many times when Indians receive the “rights” to build a casino is that “right” is quickly leased to a Nevada gambling operation who then funds and operates the project. A percentage is then given to the tribe and a few get rich for doing nothing and the majority see a very small financial benefit.
  • Since 1988 when the IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) was passed, hundreds of Indian casinos have been built with revenue of $30.67 billion reported in 2017. Despite this tremendous amount of money very little improvement can be seen in the life style of the majority of tribe members.

Praise the Lord! We Won!

Well, we can all start sleeping better at night (especially me). The Nebraska Legislature has adjourned for the year and we dodged another bullet. This now makes 22 years of “NO EXPANDED GAMBLING”. It is truly a miracle and we give God all the glory.

This year we faced 3 expanded gambling bills and testified against each one:

  • LB631 – Change the Pickle Card Lottery Act and authorize methods of payment for participation in certain gaming activities as prescribed. It never got out of committee so it is dead for now.
  • LB469 – Adopt the Fantasy Contests Act- this got out of committee with 2 amendments but is held over to next year. It would allow Internet gambling and is very dangerous.
  • LB470 – Change provisions of the Lottery Act relating to the manner of play of keno, use of electronic tickets, and authorized methods of payment- this got out of committee, got a priority status and we killed it in 2 hours- unheard of.

I am very encouraged by the changes in the Legislature. We gained some good new Senators to stand with our faithful Senators but the gambling promoters never give up. They will be back in January to try again. God willing we will be there to stop them.

Thank you to those who came to testify and to all the citizens who called and wrote to your Senators. We could not have done it without you.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We will be working over the interim to shore up our supporters and prepare for battle next year.

Blessings, Pat Loontjer, Executive Director “Gambling with the Good Life”

Protecting Nebraska families against expanded gambling since 1995.

Gambling Proponents Cheated Nebraska Once Again

When will gambling proponents ever learn that Nebraskans’ cherish our “Good Life” and we do not want to see it ruined by expanded gambling – especially in the form of Casinos and Slot Machines? For 21 years expanded gambling has been defeated in the Legislature or by the voters. Our Senators wisely examined the facts and came to the conclusion that the 3 to 1 cost of gambling is not worth it. Nationwide studies show that for every dollar a state gains in gambling revenue it costs them $3.00 in social costs. Nebraska does not need increased crime, embezzlements, domestic violence, divorce, suicides and other problems. We value our families and businesses and are not interested in trashing our state.

But will the gambling proponents just stop the foolishness and leave us alone – NEVER! The latest attempt by the “Keep the Money” committee was led by former State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh. It was financed by the Winnebago Tribe who put up 1.4 Million dollars trying to ram Casinos and Slots down our throats. The Tribe did not put up that kind of money because they wanted to help horse racing. They did it because they knew if we changed our Constitution they would be allowed under Federal law to have unlimited Indian casinos in any city or town they wanted – virtually untaxed and unregulated.

Read more at the Lincoln Journal Star…

Federal indictments returned against nine former Winnebago Tribal Council members

Just imagine how much more of this we will have it they change our Constitution to allow unlimited Indian casinos all over the state…

Federal indictments returned against nine former Winnebago Tribal Council members.

WINNEBAGO, Neb. | A federal grand jury has returned an 11-count indictment against nine former members of the Winnebago Tribal Council for alleged corruption and theft of tribal funds.

Former tribal chairman John Blackhawk, 61, and former tribal Council members Darwin Snyder, 49, Thomas Snowball, Jr., 55, Louis Houghton, 69, Lawrence Payer, 70, Travis Mallory, 38, Charles Aldrich, 48, Morgan Earth, 70, and Ramona Wolfe, 76, were each charged with conspiracy, theft and misapplication of funds belonging to an Indian gaming establishment, and wire fraud.

As a result of the defendants’ actions, the loss to the tribe’s WinnaVegas Casino Resort totaled $327,500, according to a news release Wednesday from Deborah Gilg, U.S. Attorney for Nebraska.

An arraignment date for each of the defendants in U.S. District Court is anticipated to be in early August, according to the news release.

The case, which was investigated by the FBI, stemmed from a tribal investigative report early last year that showed the nine council members had given themselves large raises and bonuses.

See More at the Sioux City Journal…


Former Dundee Presbyterian Worker Gets Probation

Former Dundee Presbyterian worker gets probation after stealing thousands from church for gambling.

A former employee at Dundee Presbyterian Church was sentenced Monday to five years’ probation after pleading guilty to felony theft of over $37,000 from the church.

Jeffrey D. Bomberger, 42, of Lincoln, was also ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution and get treatment for a gambling addiction by Douglas County District Judge Thomas Otepka.

Most of the church’s losses were covered by insurance, according to defense attorney Jim Hoppe.

“Jeff is now involved in therapy and treatment for his gambling addiction,” Hoppe said. “This has financially devastated him in every possible way.”

Investigator Lance Ivener of the Douglas County Attorney’s Office said in an affidavit that Bomberger, the former director of operations at the church, admitted to using church funds for gambling at keno parlors. Bomberger began working for the church, at 5312 Underwood Ave., in April 2014.

Church leaders met with Ivener on Nov. 2, 2015, after they discovered Bombarder had been using a church account to purchase Visa cards that he said were being used for charitable donations to area ministries. Officials at the ministries denied receiving any money from the church except “officially approved checks,” Ivener said.