Gaming regulators are inquiring about the legal status of a new Mashpee Wampanoag tribe casino as it tries to secure land for its venture. The regulators are yet to clear the license of the tribe but seem to be in no hurry to come to a conclusion.
A new southeastern Massachusetts casino
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is looking to add a third casino in the state in the southeastern Massachusetts region. The Gaming Commission said on Thursday that its legal team and executive director will create a more comprehensive briefing on the legal tussle to grant the tribe land to start a casino. The legal status of the case was granted by the Obama administration, by means of which the tribe is asserting its rights. However, the Trump administration has dirtied the waters because of which there is legal uncertainty over the land in question.
The tribe has planned to constrict the First Light Resort and Casino on Taunton’s tribal land. The $1 billion investment will be a major influence on the state’s commercial casino industry. The staff and legal department of the Gaming Commission have been working to untangle the legal intricacies of the casino. Since it is a matter of tribes, the case becomes even more complicated. Cathy Judd-Stein, chairperson of the Commission noted,
“… I think it’s probably a good time to actually update us more formally through a memorandum. It’s very complicated. I do think probably that needs to be formalized because it’s an important part of the overall Region C evaluation and discussion.”
The matter of Region C
The counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Plymouth and Nantucket form Region C, which has been a nightmare for the Commission for year. The closest it came to starting a casino in the Taunton region was in 2016 when the Obama administration granted a reservation a 320-acre piece of land to the tribe to erect a casino. However, the Trump administration has since reversed the decision.
The tribe has been fighting for trust status for its land in federal court. Rep. William Keating, representing Taunton and Mashpee, has pushed for a legislation that would secure the tribe’s land but the administration has not paid much attention to the subject. Sen. Marc Pacheco talked to the Commission on Thursday, seeking clarity on the legal status of the tribe and how the Congress is working to resolve the issues.