Officials and public react to casino compact
LAKEVILLE, Mass. (WHDH) -- The State Gaming Commission held a public meeting in Lakeville following Governor Deval Patrick’s compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal council. Thursday morning, Gov. Patrick gave his approval for a casino in East Taunton.
"We are very pleased,” said Gov. Patrick, “It’s a good deal for the people of the commonwealth.”
The tribe plans to build a $500million casino at the Liberty and Union Industrial park, which sits near routes 24 and 140.
The problem is that the Mashpee tribe doesn't own any of the land. They've applied for it - but the Bureau of Indian Affairs could take years to give it's approval.
The tribe has an option to buy, but they also need the Feds to place the land in trust in order to build a casino.
“That process could go relatively quickly, it could take a long, long time. It could take forever. The commission will have to make a decision about how long can we wait,” said Mass. Gaming Commissioner Stephen Crosby.
In Lakeville, Commissioner Crosby is hearing from representatives of 7 communities near Taunton about their concerns with this project.
Representative Keiko Orrall of Lakeville feels like the towns are being cut out in the process.
If the Taunton casino is built, the tribe has agreed to pay the state 21.5 percent of the gambling revenues.
That's less than the 25 percent a commercial casino would have to pay but Commissioner Crosby said it's still a great deal, considering.
“They have the absolute right to have gambling on their lands paying nobody anything. So this is 21.5 as opposed to zero, is one way to look at it,” said Commissioner Crosby.