Development firm KG Urban submits casino papers, $400K
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is about to face competition for a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts.
On Friday, ahead of Monday's deadline for applications, KG Urban Enterprises filed its application and a nonrefundable check for $400,000 to bid on a commercial casino in the region, spokesman Andy Paven said. KG Urban, which hopes to build a casino on the New Bedford waterfront, filed without a casino operator as a partner, he said.
Last Monday, KG Urban filed court documents in its federal lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, saying that the tribe being part of the process is making it difficult for casino operators to commit to the region and continues to cause "irreparable harm."
Despite those concerns and the fact that its lawsuit will not be settled before the end of the year at the earliest, KG Urban decided to write the check.
"We're fully committed to the project," Paven said Saturday.
The Gaming Commission has said that a company with land under agreement can add a casino operator after Monday's deadline.
There is a possibility that companies like Hard Rock, which failed to win approval in other regions of the state, could partner with KG or another landowner who applies in Southeastern Massachusetts by the deadline.
Elaine Driscoll, a spokesman for the commission, was not immediately able to confirm KG Urban's application.
It remains unclear just how much interest there is in the region from commercial developers.
The tribe has a proposal to build a $500 million casino in Taunton, which faces federal hurdles.
A compact reached between tribe leaders and Gov. Deval Patrick has been acted on favorably by a legislative committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a vote by either the House or Senate.
The deal also needs approval of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs — the same agency that is currently reviewing the tribe's application to have the Taunton land taken into trust for a casino.
On Tuesday, Clyde Barrow, a casino expert at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Center for Policy Analysis, said there is no question that the tribe's presence in the region has kept some casino companies out the game.
"I guess the explanation is people are still skeptical that the rug could get pulled out from under them at any time by the Indian tribe," Barrow said.