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Column: Wait for decision on Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino

Filed Under: Casino Stalker | Opinion
More on: bia, land-into-trust, massachusetts, wampanoag

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

Columnist calls on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to hold off on a third commercial license in the state until the Bureau of Indian Affairs makes a decision on a casino for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:
Even this pro-casino columnist is starting to worry about oversaturation, with the potential for a fourth casino in Massachusetts and yet another one just over the border in Connecticut as that state desperately tries to hang onto its high rollers and slot players by building a new gambling playground.

So this is what the commission should do: Hold off on handing out a third license until we know the fate of the Wampanoag.

The tribe’s dreams of blackjack and slot machines have been in the hands of the Department of the Interior. The Mashpee Wampanoag want a casino in Taunton, but the tribe can run one only on sovereign Indian land. The federal government is pondering the tribe’s application to have the casino site taken into trust so that it can legally host tribal gaming. The first request was made in 2007, and then again in 2012 — and they’re still waiting for an answer.

Patrick can’t understand why it’s taking so long.

“I wish the federal government would make the call on the land in trust for the tribe. That uncertainty is problematic,” the governor said. “They’ve given us all kinds of windows. At one point, they were saying by the end of this calendar year. I have bitten my lip more than once, in terms of trying to second-guess some of their decisions in this region. But I’m going to continue to bite my lip.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman from the Department of Interior’s Indian Affairs indicated the tribe’s application remains under review, “with due diligence.”

Get the Story:
Shirley Leung: Third resort casino in Massachusetts is a risky bet (The Boston Globe 12/19)

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Fee-to-Trust Transfer of Property and Subsequent Development of a Resort/Hotel and Ancillary Facilities in the City of Taunton, MA and Tribal Government Facilities in the Town of Mashpee, MA by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (September 5, 2014)

Related Stories:
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe submits casino environmental report (12/10)

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