Final votes awaited on Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino deal

Massachusetts lawmakers are moving quickly to ratify a Class III gaming compact for Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe amid questions about some provisions in the deal.

The House and the Senate each voted on Tuesday to bar amendments to the agreement. Up or down votes are expected as early as today and tomorrow.

Despite the quick movement, lawmakers from southeastern Massachusetts are questioning a provision that requires the state to help the tribe settle its land claim. Tribal leaders said the provision was instrumental in agreeing to a 21.5 percent gross revenue sharing rate in the compact.

"We're looking to sit down and talk just like we did with state," Vice Chairman Aaron Tobey told the New Bedford Standard-Times. "We're not looking for an adversarial relationship. We're looking to sit down and come to an agreement."

Non-gaming provisions, however, are most likely unenforceable. The Bureau of Indian Affairs in certain cases will allow a compact to go into effect to the extent that it remains consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which states that tribal-state agreements may include "subjects that are directly related to the operation of gaming activities."

Get the Story:
Area legislators buck the tide on tribal compact (The New Bedford Standard-Times 7/18)
Questions surround Mashpee Wampanoag tribe deal (The Cape Cod Times 7/18)
House bans amendments for Taunton casino compact (The Taunton Daily Gazette 7/18)
No changes allowed to tribe’s casino deal (AP 7/18)
Legislature eyes amendment-free compact for Taunton casino (State House News Service 7/17)

An Opinion:
OUR VIEW: Hedging the bets on Taunton tribal casino (The Fall River Herald News 7/18)

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Land-into-trust an issue for Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's casino (7/17)