Mashpee Wampanoags Casino – “Game Changer” for Mass Casino Expansion?

Taunton Proposal

Taunton Casino Rendering for Mashpee Wampanoags Proposal

The Boston Globe reported last week that the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe appear to be making significant progress in its quest to secure land in Massachusetts to build a Las Vegas-style casino.

We’ve been hearing about this on-again, off-again casino for three years, but it now seems closer than ever to fruition.

Proposed Brockton Casino

Proposed Brockton Casino

The federal government recently informed the tribe in a letter that a decision in their case is imminent. The tribe needs the federal government to help them convert 150 acres of land into a reservation, which would allow for the casino to be built under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.  The tribe wants to build a $500 million casino in Taunton, which is in the Southeastern part of the state. But, Brockton also is competing for the SE license in Region C.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs seems confused on what exactly it’s communications to the Mashpee Wampanoags means.

  1. the tribe’s request is under review
  2. they are inviting comments for a 30-day period on the tribe’s request to issue a reservation proclamation
  3. no date has been identified in which a reservation proclamation will be issued by the Department of the Interior
  4. issuance of a reservation proclamation is a separate and distinct action from acquiring land in trust…”

MashpeesIt seems the important part is that a reservation proclamation would allow the tribe to construct a casino in Taunton if the land has been turned into a trust.

“This letter to the City of Taunton is an indication that the Interior Department is one step closer to making a final decision on our full application,” tribal council chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a press release regarding the letter. But the letter refers to looking into the trust, not deciding on it.

Estele C. Borges, president of Taunton’s City Council, said that the council and the City of Taunton have already responded when more than 60 percent of city residents voted in favor of a casino to be constructed in Taunton.  So the BIA seems to have the last say.

What will this mean to Brockton?  It seems that two casinos in Region C, so close to Rhode Island Casinos and the new Plainridge slots joint may add to the saturation problem.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission did refer to the fact that neither Brockton or the then alive New Bedford proposal might not see a casino.  It might depend solely on the BIA’s decision with the Mashpee Wampanoags casino in Taunton.

More to come.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

 

 

Plainridge Park Opening Gets Closer – Mashpees Upset

IMG_0412Penn National Gaming announced last week that pending final regulatory approval by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Plainridge Park Casino will open its doors to the public on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 bringing top-flight dining, gaming, and entertainment options to the Commonwealth.

The MGC recently approved their gaming floor plan.

MashpeesThe Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is claiming the type of machines and number of positions at the commercial slots parlor violate state law.  While the  slots parlor has 1,250 machines, the Gaming Commission decided last year to allow the facility to have up to 1,500 gamblers playing at the same time, as some machines offer multiplayer games. Differing from traditional slots, some of the machines offer video simulations of poker and other table games. The Mashpee, who have faced a series of delays and setbacks in their pursuit of a tribal casino in Taunton, claim the additional positions at Plainridge could divert $30 million in revenue from a future tribal facility. It is yet to be seen if their facility will ever be done.

Plainridge Park Casino will feature nine dining and entertainment venues as well as gaming, including, among others:

  • Flutie’s Sports Pub, Boston College-legend Doug Flutie’s first restaurant in the Commonwealth, featuring memorabilia from his college, CFL and NFL careers;
  • Revolution 1776 Lounge, home to live local entertainment throughout the year;
  • Slack’s Oyster House and Grill, a casual upscale restaurant offering a state-of-the-art 25-seat oyster bar, along with the region’s freshest seafood and finest steaks; and
  • b. good, a rapidly growing Boston-based restaurant company and winner of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Small Business of the Year Award, offering locally sourced all-natural burgers, seasonal salads, and much more.

An interesting side note – recently the Sun Chronicle reported that the state Gaming Commission has launched a study of the impact of legalized gambling on crime, starting with a focus on the Plainville area.  The commission said the research will focus on four areas:

  1. Assess changes in public safety issues, specifically in Massachusetts communities that host a gaming facility, and surrounding communities, to include crime, calls for service, traffic and officer activity.
  2. Analyze new public safety matters that may arise after a facility opens.
  3. Establish a uniform way of identifying gambling-related incidents in record management systems of area police departments.
  4. Develop a way to easily get access to gambling-related incidents from record management systems and to train police on the systems.

This may be the beginning of studies in cities of all four casinos.  This should be viewed as a proactive way to keep tabs on the influence of casinos on crime, addictive related crimes, etc.

 

That’s all for now

Binbin