State Gaming Board to Discuss S.E. Mass Casino Issues

Wampanoag - Cromwell

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell

SPRINGFIELD –  State gambling officials plan to weigh whether to move forward on a casino license for southeastern Massachusetts when they meet today in Springfield.

The issue comes after federal officials approved the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s land in trust designation, paving the way for a possible Taunton casino.

The 2011 law that legalized casino gambling in Massachusetts provided for a casino in eastern and western Massachusetts, a slots-only casino, and a casino set aside for a federally-recognized Native American tribe.

MGM Resorts is planning a casino for Springfield, while Wynn Resorts is looking to build a gaming resort in Everett. The slots-only casino has already opened in Plainville.

Prior to the land into trust designation, the state’s gaming commission had been considering the possibility of issuing another commercial casino license for southeastern Massachusetts in the event the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was unable to get federal recognition.

When asked last weekend if the tribe would seek to have that process stopped, Cromwell would only say that he hoped the state gaming commission followed the law.

“We’ve got a tribal-state compact and that tribal-state compact spells out the relationship with the Commonwealth and that’s what we’re going to work by and we expect the Mass Gaming Commission to honor, respect and work with that tribal-state compact,” said Cromwell.

New York-based developers KG Urban Enterprises notified the gaming commission in July that they were withdrawing their plans for a $650 million Foxwoods-operated casino in New Bedford because of an inability to secure financing.

Mass Gaming & Entertainment proposes a $650 million resort on the Brockton Fairgrounds.

The company, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, has already won Brockton voters’ approval and cleared a background check by state gambling investigators.

Massachusetts has so far issued resort casino licenses to MGM and Wynn and the slots parlor license to Penn National Gaming.

Mass Gaming & Entertainment must submit a detailed casino proposal by Sept. 30. The commission is expected to make a final decision on the license sometime in 2016.

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