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Fed reject's Mashpee tribe's compact with state

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October 12, 2012

Mashpee Wampanoag was denied their compact by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. The compact would have allowed for the tribe to acquire tribal land in East Taunton, where they have plans to build a casino.

In the compact was ruled to be in violation of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In the compact, the Mashpee Wampanoag would pay 21.5 percent of the gaming's gross revenue to the state. 25 percent is paid to the state by the commercially licensed gaming facilities. The tribe had agreed to make payments instead of taxes. This was one of the critical issues in the compact. It is illegal per the IGRA to put a tax, fee, or any other charge on tribal gaming. There were also issues with the compact based on non gaming related matters. Partly due to the land the tribe wanted to acquire. The claims to the land were in question.

During negotiations with both the state and the tribe, many agreements were made to form the compact. However, the BIA did not agree with the terms that both sides had agreed upon.

The expanded gaming law allows for a casino to be built in the south eastern portion of the state. The tribe believes that they followed the law and did what was required to receive the approval for the land acquisition and the compact. However New York based developer, KG Urban Enterprises, challenged the tribe. The company has plans to build a casino on the New Bedford waterfront.

In February of this year the claim by KG Urban Enterprises was denied. However an appeal was filed with the District Court. It is still pending.

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