Aug 23, 2001 7:45 PM

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has been unsuccessful in efforts to make the Winnebago Indian tribe raise the minimum age for betting customers from 18 to 21 at its casino.

State officials said it could take up to five years before negotiations can begin. The casino is located in Sloan, about 20 miles south of Sioux City. American Indian tribes have sovereignty of their land and are not bound by state gambling laws.

The Belle of Sioux City riverboat casino received a $10,000 fine after an underage gambler played slot machines there for nearly an hour last February before being asked to leave. The Commission's chairman, Bill Hansen, is "guardedly optimistic" that the age limit will be raised.