The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has successfully passed the major requirements of the state and local governments to build a tribal casino in Taunton. One final approval by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs is still pending. There is also one court ruling pending. Here is a summary:
FEDERAL APPROVAL DENIED
The tribal compact signed by Gov. Deval Patrick was reviewed and rejected by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Approval the BIA is required before transferring the tribe's land into federal trust. The land transfer gives it tribal sovereignty for building a casino. The gaming compact required the tribe to pay the state 21.5 percent of gross gaming revenues. The rate would drop to 15% if any other casino opens in the Southeast region. Also, the Tribe was not permitted to operate live horseracing which removes competition for the nearby Plainridge Racecourse.
On June 6, 2012 the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) approved the Mashpee Wampanoag casino petition. The plaintiff claims a competitive disadvantage by the portion of the state law that gives the tribe an exclusive first shot at building a casino in the southeastern region.
On Oct. 12, 2012 the BIA disapproved the compact stating the 21.5% tax is unfair or excessive and returned it to the governor for renegotiation.
STATE APPROVAL - Completed
07-26-2012: State legislature ratified the tribal compact.
07-12-2012: Governor signed tribal gaming compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag.
TAUNTON APPROVAL - Completed
06-09-2012: Taunton voters approved casino proposal.
05-31-2012: Taunton City Council approved the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the tribe.
JUDICIAL APPROVAL - Pending
Aug 04, 2012 a judicial panel of federal appeals court asked a U.S. district judge to reexamine a lawsuit filed by KG Urban Enterprises, a commercial developer seeking to build a casino in New Bedford. The plaintiff claims state law gives the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe an exclusive first shot at a casino in the southeastern region of of the state which is an unfair advantage and violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The appeals court ordered the review of the claim but did not to grant an injunction.
Return to: Massachusetts Casinos.