Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Gains Legislative Massachusetts Casino Win

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has been lobbying to build a casino in the Soetheast region of Massachusetts for several years. On Wednesday, the tribe received good news from legislators who chose to delay a vote on opening up the region for an additional commercial casino.

Several high profile gaming companies have expressed an interest in bringing a new casino to the Southeast portion of the state. Lawmakers, who only this past summer finalized a bill allowing casinos in Massachusetts, were considering expanding their original plan to allow the casino in the Southeast.

The Mashpee tribe has the approval of the state to build their casino, but has yet to gain the support of the federal government. In order to develop a casino, any US tribe must receive permission from the federal government by adhering to several regulations.

The state, growing impatient with the tribe’s inability to secure federal approval, was set to vote Wednesday to allow a commercial bidding process for a new casino in the Southeast. Instead, the tribe won their request for a three month delay on the vote, giving them time to gain federal support.

Massachusetts will be joining the likes of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Delaware, and New York as states who have opened their borders to casino gambling. Pennsylvania has gone as far as legalizing table games, and the state has become the top gaming revenue state on the East Coast.

State regulators must tread carefully with opening up the Southeast region to a commercial casino bidding process. Governor Deval Patrick has been negotiating with the Mashpee tribe on terms for operating a casino in the region, and opening up the bidding process at this time had lawmakers concerned the governor would lose negotiating power with the tribe.

The three month delay means that the lawmakers will not re-examine the possible bidding process until at least March.


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