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BIA Clarifies Letter for Mashpee Casino Issues

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August 31, 2015

A letter was sent on August 26 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The letter states that the decision for the land trust application by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is still undecided. However the BIA will begin accepting comment submissions to be made before the final ruling has been made. The tribe is attempting to place land into trust in Taunton and Mashpee as part of their reservation.

If the land is approved, the tribe will be able to continue with plans to build a Taunton casino at a cost of $500 million.

However, a letter that was sent by the BIA on August 21 to Taunton officials that lead many people to think that the final ruling was going to happen soon.

The latest letter was sent as a clarification. The comments on the proposed reservation request by the tribe will be allowed for 30 days. The request is currently being reviewed. A date that the BIA will release a reservation proclamation has not been released. The placing of land into trust is different than giving a reservation proclamation.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has been wanting to give a gaming license for the southeastern section of the state. However, the process has been complicated over the legality of the Mashpee tribe wanting to build their casino on the land taken into trust.

Commercial casino gaming applications had been put on hold because the commission does not want to oversaturate the area's gaming market. However the submission of applications were finally allowed by the commission due to the legal issues that the tribe had faced.

Applications for the southeastern casino will be evaluated thoroughly. The final decision for the gaming license will take place after all factors, including the potential Mashpee casino, have been considered.

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