Non-Indian billionaire eyes tax cut on Massachusetts casino

Artist's rendering of proposed First Light Resort and Casino. Image from Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

After accusing the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut of trying to avoid taxes for its proposed commercial casino in Massachusetts, billionaire gaming mogul Steve Wynn is seeking a tax cut of his own.

H.3702, the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act, requires commercial casinos to pay 25 percent to the state. But Wynn says his proposal should pay less due to competition from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

As part of its Class III gaming compact, the tribe agreed to share between 15 percent and 21 percent with the state. Wynn is seeking a comparable rate -- 17 percent, The Boston Herald reported.

“A Wampanoag casino in Taunton would be a mere 40 miles from our proposed investment in Everett and a real alternative for our patrons,” a memo to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission stated, the Herald reported. “All (resort casinos) should operate pursuant to the same economic terms with the same tax applied to all operators of the same type of facility.”

Wynn is competing for the eastern Massachusetts license. The Mohegans are also in the running and Wynn claimed they were going to re-direct high rollers to their tribal facility in Connecticut in order to avoid the Massachusetts tax rate.

The Mashpee casino would be located in southeastern Massachusetts. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars taxation of tribal revenues but revenue sharing provisions in Class III gaming compacts have been accepted as long as a state offers a meaningful concession.

Get the Story:
Steve Wynn wants Wampanoags’ deal (The Boston Globe 1/30)

Related Stories
Mohegan Tribe blasted by rival for Massachusetts casino (1/23)

Join the Conversation