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Casino Stalker
Town set for vote on Mashpee Wampanoag casino

Voters in the town of Middleboro, Massachusetts, head to the polls tomorrow to consider a casino deal with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

The tribe won federal recognition in May. With the help of financial backers, the tribe has moved quickly to buy land seek local support for a casino, which is often a pre-requisite for the land-into-trust process.

The tribe hopes to open a casino on an initial reservation in the town. The tribe qualifies for an exception in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The tribe is offering $11 million a year in gaming revenues plus $250 million in infrastructure improvements. The tribe has agreed to pay a 4 percent hotel tax to the town.

Even if the deal is approved, the tribe has to negotiate a Class III compact with the state. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) hasn't decided whether he supports legalization of casino-style gaming.

"It doesn't happen until we get it resolved on Beacon Hill," Patrick said, referring to the state Capitol in Boston.

The state treasurer has criticized the deal. Now attorney general Martha Coakley said gaming is not the way to go.

Residents are on both sides of the issue. Some support the jobs and revenues the casino will bring. Others are worried about traffic and social impacts.

Get the Story:
Middleboro residents express hope, skepticism about casino (The New Bedford Standard-Times 7/27)
Casino deal jumps the gun, Patrick says (The New Bedford Standard-Times 7/27)
AG: Casino’s no pot of gold (The Boston Herald 7/27)
Richard K. Lodge: Casinos by the numbers (The Daily News Tribune 7/27)
Casino tax bounty appears overstated (The Boston Globe 7/27)