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Study urges gaming compact with Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

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August 11, 2008

BOSTON - Gov. Deval Patrick's administration released a report Thursday by Spectrum Gaming Group recommending the state consider negotiating a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe for exclusive casino gambling rights in Southeastern Massachusetts. In return the tribe would pay the state an annual fee.

The tribe has already applied to the U.S. Department of Interior to take their Middleboro property into federal trust for the purpose of building a casino complex.

"This situation would have a potentially disastrous effect on commercial casinos in the commonwealth, as a tribal casino in this case would potentially contribute no tax money to the commonwealth, and would obviously cause a decline in the gross gaming revenues to the commercial casinos," the report says.

Daniel O'Connell, the secretary of Housing and Economic Development, issued a statement that accompanied the report. "I believe that this analysis will prove valuable for future policy deliberations if and when the issue of expanded gaming in Massachusetts re-emerges."

A spokesperson from O'Connell's office added, "I think that based on the Spectrum analysis, it's clear that done correctly, casinos can be very successfully integrated into our tourism industry."

However, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi remains skeptical. In a statement he said, "While I remain an opponent of allowing casino gambling in the commonwealth, I will fully analyze the details of today's report with the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and will discuss best next steps with Governor Patrick, Senate President (Therese) Murray and my colleagues in the House."

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