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Wampanoags Indian casino plan shifts to Fall River

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May 17, 2010

Plans were announced today for a massive new gaming facility to be built by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. The new complex will be built in Fall River as a 300 acre site in the city's downtown area. It will contain a gaming center, a shopping mall, and 3 hotels.

In order to move forward on their plans, the tribe must be granted a state gaming license. The bill to legalize casino gambling is in the Senate now. The Massachusetts House of Representatives previously gave approval to create a state gaming commission. This commission will have the authority to grant two casino licenses for the state. Currently the Wampanoag tribe can only build gaming facilities on their tribal land. The house also gave approval for race tracks to install slot machines. Final approval for the gaming law must be approved by Governor Deval Patrick.

If the new law is approved, the Wampanoag tribe will need to negotiate a state contract for casino revenues, and mitigation for traffic and other issues.

The casino is planned to be built off Route 24. Currently the state is already using funds to build an off ramp that would exit onto the purposed property. The Fall River Mayor, Will Flanagan, has already been promoting the new casino as a job creator. The city has the second highest unemployment rate in the state. He has also stated that it will help the city of Fall River to pay for public safety, road repair, and education.

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