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Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe awaits land-into-trust at casino

Filed Under: Casino Stalker | Compacts | Federal Register
More on: bia, eis, land-into-trust, mashantucket, massachusetts, mohegan, wampanoag

Artist's rendering of proposed First Light Resort and Casino. Image from Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe needs to clear a big hurdle before opening a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

The tribe's land-into-trust application for the $500 million First Light Resort and Casino is pending at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Obama administration originally promised a decision in spring 2013 but the agency is still working on a draft environmental impact statement for the project.

Public hearings were held in December. It could take several more months before the final EIS arrives and a few more months after that for a record of decision.

Still, the tribe doesn't seem to be too far behind in the race. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has yet to issue licenses for commercial casinos in two other regions of the state, a process that has been delayed by the re-introduction of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut to the field.

The commission also agreed to accept non-Indian bids for southeastern Massachusetts due to uncertainty facing the Mashpee project. But that process is proceeding slowly and may be delayed further by the addition of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut to the landscape.

There is no guarantee the commission will award a non-Indian license for the region. But if that happens, the Mashpees won't have to share any revenues from its casino with the state.

The tribe's Class III gaming compact became effective on Monday upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register.

Get the Story:
Mashpees' Mass. gaming compact alters casino view (The New London Day 2/5)

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming (February 3, 2014)
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Fee-to-Trust Transfer of Property and Subsequent Development of a Resort/Hotel and Tribal Government Facilities by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (November 15, 2013)

Related Stories:
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hails gaming compact approval (2/4)

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