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First Discussion of an Indian Gaming Compact

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March 13, 2008

BOSTON - WBZ reported a source with direct knowledge of last week's meeting between administration officials and the Wampanoags said the process for negotiating an Indian gaming compact was discussed, however, specific terms or conditions were not.

If the U.S. Department of Interior accepts the tribe's application to transfer land in Middleboro into federal trust, the commonwealth must negotiate a gaming compact with the Wampanoags. Although an Indian casino is excluded from state taxes and other regulations, a compact typically guarantees the state and local governments a percentage of the gaming revenues. If an agreement cannot be reached, it will go to arbitration and the state may or may not get a good deal.

Under federal law, the Wampanoags will have a right to conduct Las-Vegas style in Massachusetts because state laws authorize special casino nights and a state lottery. So if their federal application is accepted, they can build a casino without state approval.

If the governor negotiates a compact for a share of the revenues it must be approved by the house and the senate.

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