Massachusetts Governor Signs Gaming Compact With Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Tribe Must Now Overcome Many Obstacles Before Building Casino Property
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to build a $500 million casino resort in Taunton.
The agreement calls for the tribal casino to pay 21.5 percent of its gambling revenue to the state.
“This is a good deal for everyone,” said Patrick in a statement. “If this compact is approved, it will allow the Mashpee Wampanoag to open a unique facility that is governed and regulated by the tribe itself, in partnership with the state.”
The U.S. Department of the Interior must now approve the compact and then there is the matter of the casino’s location. The Mashpee Wampanoag are a land-less tribe, so they must get permission from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the proposed land into federal trust.
Critics of the compact believe that there are too many obstacles for the tribe to overcome, which will place Southeastern Massachusetts at a disadvantage when other commercial casinos sprout up around the state.
Furthermore, the compact deprives the state of additional revenue. Commercial casinos must pay a higher tax rate of 25 percent on gambling revenue, as well as a one-time $85 million licensing fee, which the tribe is not subject to.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will award a total of three licenses to full resort casinos in three regions of the state, as well as an additional license to a slot parlor.
The first licenses are expected to be awarded in late 2013 to early 2014.
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