Massachusetts Moves Forward With New Tribal Casino

Now that Massachusetts lawmakers have authorized casinos, Indian tribes are getting ahead of the curve on building new gaming facilities. Governor Deval Patrick has expedited the process with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe by sending a proposal for federal approval.

Patrick sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking for approval for a $500 million casino in Tauton. The casinos would signal the end of months of negotiations on a compact between the state and the Mashpee tribe.

Massachusetts is set to explode on to the casino gamblingh scene in the next two years. After several years of failed negotiations, Patrick and legislators finally reached an agreement earlier this year on the parameters of new laws that will allow casino resorts in Massachusetts.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray were integral negotiators in the deal, and at times it appeared the three legislative leaders would not find common ground. Patrick had pushed for casino resorts as part of his platform before becoming governor.

This Spring, Patrick finally delivered on his promise to voters when he and lawmakers completed groundbreaking legislation, authorizing casinos, and ensuring that Massachusetts would become a major player in the Northeast gaming industry.

Massachusetts joins New York, Delaware, Maine, and Maryland as states who have recently authorized additional casinos. Pennsylvania has become the second-largest gaming market in the US behind Nevada since lawmakers decided to add table games to Pennsylvania casinos.

The Massachusetts compact with the Mashpee tribe came to fruition in early July, shortly after the state adopted its new casino laws. The Mashpee tribe was given the rights to operate a casino in the southeast region.

The state will receive 21.5% of the gaming revenue from the casino. Indian tribe’s have generally paid a low tax rate through the years, due to federal laws that allow tribe’s to operate casinos in states where laws permit. The tax rate negotiated between Patrick and the Mashpee tribe is the highest of any compact in the nation.


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