With a tribal gaming compact between the state and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe awaiting action in the Senate, Gov. Deval Patrick said final approval from the Legislature would help avoid the undesired possibility that an expanded gaming law intending to license three casinos could lead to a fourth state casino in southeastern Massachusetts.
"I've been concerned all along that we not have more than three destination resort facilities and that we also strike a balance as we move toward that with the tribe's sovereign and legal interests," Patrick said. "I think the sooner the Legislature acts on the compact the better because that's a predicate, as you know, for federal action and the compact was renegotiated based on the guidance we got from the feds."
House stalled compact for months
The House sat on the revenue-sharing compact for months before approving it earlier this month. The state Gaming Commission has solicited bids, and received one application, for a commercial casino in the southeast region in case the tribe can't get the federal land approval it needs to win a license reserved in the 2011 legislation for the tribe.
The compact includes various revenue-sharing arrangements to deliver taxes to the state, including a no-tax possibility if the tribe ends up opening a casino in the region and there is already another casino in operation. The 2011 expanded gaming law also authorize single casino licenses in the eastern and western regions of the state.