Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe gaming compact set for BIA review

A Class III gaming compact signed by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts faces scrutiny at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian law experts said.

The tribe agreed to share 21.5 percent of gross gaming revenues with the state. The rate appears to be one of the highest in the nation.

“I would say there’s a fair chance it would not be approved because the terms are way too onerous,” attorney Gary S. Pitchlynn told The Boston Globe.

Tribes can share revenues in exchange for a a "meaningful concession," according to federal court rulings. The state has promised the Mashpees regional exclusivity.

But in the event another gaming facility opens in southeastern Massachusetts, the compact requires the tribe to share 15 percent with the state. Even that rate appears to be one of the highest in the nation.

“When the monopoly goes away, the legal and factual basis for revenue sharing goes away,” Matthew Fletcher, the director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law, told the paper.

The Massachusetts Legislature has ratified the compact. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) plans to finalize the agreement today.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act gives the BIA 45 days to consider the compact. The agency could approve it, reject it or let it go into effect to the extent its provisions are consistent with IGRA.

Get the Story:
State’s take may doom casino deal (The Boston Globe 7/29)
Tribe estimates $512M in annual revenue from casino (The Orleans Bulletin 7/29)
Patrick to sign tribal gaming compact Monday (The MetroWest Daily News 7/28)
Compact is further evidence of bias toward tribe, developer argues (The New Bedford Standard-Times 7/28)
Lobbyists still raked in plenty of casino industry dollars in Massachusetts this year (Mass Market 6/28)

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