Meetings & Information


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mashpee Wampanoag: Rival developer predicts litigation will snarl tribe's casino bid

Rival developer predicts litigation will snarl tribe's casino bid

Mass Gaming Entertainment foresees years of challenges and litigation for the tribe's proposed Taunton casino
- See more at:

As Chair Cedric Cromwell (left) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe celebrate the DOI's recent decision to allow land in trust, gaming rivals predict years of red tape for the tribe's Taunton casino project. David G. Curran photo.

- See more at:
The developer proposing to build a casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds said Monday it will continue to pursue a license in the face of a federal decision that has cleared the way for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to build a resort casino in nearby Taunton.
"We believe based on experience and significant market research that a casino in Brockton would be successful even with a tribal casino in Taunton," Mass Gaming and Entertainment, a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming, said in a statement to the News Service. "We would not be applying for the Region C license and committing our own significant funds if we were not confident in this project."
On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's 2007 application for land in trust after years of negotiations and reviews, paving the way for the tribe to open a casino on the land with or without a state gaming license. The Interior Department will transfer approximately 151 acres of land in Taunton and another roughly 170 acres of land in Mashpee to be held in federal trust for the benefit the tribe.
"While it is likely that the Department of Interior's decision will be challenged and litigated for years, our proposal will bring needed revenues, jobs and economic development to Brockton and the Commonwealth," Mass Gaming and Entertainment said in its statement. "We believe the Gaming Commission should continue with the Region C licensing process."
Through a spokesperson, the company declined to comment beyond its statement.
Mass Gaming and Entertainment estimates its casino would generate an 1,500 new, permanent jobs and an estimated 1,400 union construction jobs with a hiring preference for Brockton residents. In total, the casino plan would be a $650 million investment.
The tribe's plans for the land in Taunton includes three hotels, an event center, restaurants, retail stores, and a water park. According to federal officials, the project would create an estimated 3,500 full-time and part-time jobs and 287 construction jobs.
Though some, including Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, have raised concerns about the possibility of oversaturation of the gambling market if both Brockton and Taunton move forward with casino developments, Mass Gaming and Entertainment said it believes the two proposed casinos could profitably co-exist.
Analysis by The Innovation Group, a major gaming consultant, showed Rush Street Gaming executives that a Brockton casino would bring in $404 million in gaming revenue, a number that would be diminished to about $330 million if the Mashpee build a casino. That same analysis found the planned Wynn resort casino in Everett would make $770 million, taking a 10-percent hit if Rush Street builds and the Plainridge Park Casino, a slots parlor in Plainville, would take a roughly 15 percent hit if Rush Street opens.
Under the state's 2011 expanding gaming law and a compact negotiated with the tribe by the former Patrick administration, the Mashpee Wampanoag would pay 17 percent of gaming revenue from a Taunton casino to the state if it opens a casino with no other gaming competitors in the southeast region. A commercial casino, should one be licensed by the Gaming Commission, would have to pay the state 25 percent of gaming revenue in taxes under the law.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has the discretion to issue a license in southeastern Massachusetts to another commercial developer. If both the tribe and a commercial casino opened in the region the tribe would not owe any gaming taxes to the state.
The Gaming Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday in Springfield, and though its agenda was not available Monday afternoon, the commission is expected to discuss the Region C license, according to a spokesperson.
- See more at:

Mashpee Wampanoags, Taunton leaders tout benefits of casino

Mayor Thomas Hoye said the city would see at least $8 million annually from casino revenues and have the casino operator subsidize dozens of new police and firefighter jobs, not to mention provide thousands of local jobs in a once bustling manufacturing center.

The original casino gambling law passed by the state Legislature envisioned three resort casinos in Massachusetts, but the tribal casino is separate from the state’s licensing process.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell said there’s no timeline for opening the casino yet.

“It’s iconic. It’s epic”.

“It has no bearing on our plans in Tiverton”, spokesman Patti Doyle said.

The Mashpee Native American Tribe celebrated Monday after the federal government announced it will recognize over 300 acres of land in Taunton as sovereign soil. “We’ve never stopped working, from design and development to permitting, that’s a lot of work to go through the permitting process and also getting to construction documents as well”, he said.

According to figures provided by the Mashpee tribe, the Taunton casino would infuse $2.1 billion to the state for economic development, education, transportation, tourism and other priorities.

However Penn Nationwide Gaming, which owns Plainridge Park, has voiced opposition, noting that the prospect of a tribe-run on line casino and a personal on line casino in shut proximity has unfavorable monetary penalties to the state. The casino company argues that it is uncertain whether the Mashpee Wampanoag will be able to build a casino, given the likely court challenges.

But officials there tell me the plans for Taunton and Tiverton are so different that it won’t even matter.
Twin River’s plan includes taking gambling out of Newport Grand, where residents have opposed expanded gambling, and relocating video lottery terminals and adding 30 to 40 table games in Tiverton.

The tribe has long promised that a decision from federal authorities was imminent, prompting state gambling regulators to delay the competition for the state’s third and final resort casino license, which is reserved for the southeastern region where the Mashpee Wampanoag casino would be located.

The state’s gaming commission has also 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.

“The commission repeatedly has informed applicants that it is under no obligation to issue a license in any region, including Region C”, the company wrote to regulators. “Hopefully common sense will prevail and the Mashpees will win this alone in partnership with the city of Taunton”. But, over the past four centuries, much of our ancestral home was taken away from us.

Tribal land announcement shakes up casino market
The Mashpee are pursuing a casino through the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which is outside of the state's commercial licensure process.

Our View: Taunton, tribe are back in the casino game
With news announced Friday that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs would take land in East Taunton and Mashpee into trust for a Mashpee ...

Mashpee Wampanoags, Taunton leaders tout benefits of casino
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell said it's hoped the casino project will start in the spring of 2016. Dozens of members of the ...

Five things you need to know today, and the first time I Googled myself

Mashpee Wampanoag tribe to discuss planned casino

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe will hold a news conference in Taunton today to discuss the future of the planned First Light Casino. This follows the news Friday that the federal government had committed to acquiring over 300 acres of land into trust for the tribe, a critical step as the tribe seeks to build a resort casino. The approval represented the first land federally designated for the Cape Cod-based tribe, known as the People of the First Light, who have inhabited present-day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years.

No comments: