Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bialecki: “Revenue recapture focus” - Then why the Indian gaming carve out?

Massachusetts economic development chief Greg Bialecki told a committee hearing last month, "We believe our focus should be revenue recapture." Adding, "This means that whatever is built should seek to be equal to or better than the gaming and leisure options available in other New England states, particularly in Connecticut."
So why is the state still considering a tribal preference option which will allow tax-exempt Indian gaming?   It is simply impossible to negotiate a “better deal” with a tribe which will not be within the jurisdiction of the state to regulate or tax once established.  Continual Supreme Court cases, such as the recent Schwarzenegger v. Rincon Band Indians finding, affirm that Indian gaming cannot be regulated or taxed by states or local communities.
OK, so states can cut deals on revenue sharing when first negotiating to allow Indian casinos.  (Note: These agreements can be negotiated and enforced with any non-Indian gaming operation as well.)  The Indian revenue sharing agreements require a high degree of trust as Indian tribe accounting books aren’t open and available for auditing like those of public gaming companies.   Even if we were to trust the Wampanoag gaming interests despite their leaders’ history of political corruption and other convictions, there is nothing to stop them from doing whatever they want once they establish a ‘reservation casino’ with land placed into trust by the federal government and sanctioned by the state.
The recent California court case shows what happens when the states ask for their fair share of revenues from expanding Indian gaming operations.  They are shut out.  Not only can Indian casinos expand, add machines, games, etc… without any local interference, zoning or other approvals, the state has no rights or abilities to tax or seek revenue sharing over such expansions.  HELLO Secretary Bialecki, can you say “revenue recapture focus?”
Other state revenues are also lost with a tribal preference which allows for Indian casinos in Massachusetts.  Every cocktail, meal and pack of smokes sold in non-Indian casinos will be taxed by the state.  No food, alcohol, tobacco or any other product sold on the “reservation” casino can be taxed.   As is the experience in other communities surrounding Indian casinos, local businesses then suffer from unfair competition that result in fewer local, fully taxed sales of goods. 

“If the state gives a commercial license to another casino operator, we won’t pay the state a cent when we build a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts once expanded gaming is approved,” said Cedric Cromwell. “We will destroy the competition because we won’t pay licensing fees or taxes and we will provide a great player experience with more wins.”
Nice guy if you happen to like extortionists who flouts his plans to operate outside the intended regulations and interests of the state.  If this is what the Wampanoags look like now while trying to play nice to get their special tribal preference what can we expect from the later when they have no need for the state at all?
The Governor recently claimed that gaming legislation is a very “complicated issue “ and he has staff dealing with this so he can keep his hands clean.   Secretary Bialecki, as the governor’s expert staff person responsible for this complicated, lobbyist-infested mess, please make sure the Governor understands the numbers when it comes to including a tribal preference option in the pending Massachusetts gaming legislation.  Those numbers don’t add up for either jobs or state revenues when Indian gaming is given a special preference.


  1. Bialecki is just another law firm lobbyist with ties to the casino industry enjoying his revolving door stop in government while cashing in for his clients (past and future). If he pays any heed to your screeds it'll be just to find some way to nail you to a cross.

  2. The Propaganda that Cedric offers is impressive.

    Only the Casino KoolAid consumers seem to have ignored Hawaii:

    What could be more simple? :

    Within weeks of the 8-1 Carcieri v Salazar
    decision, a second strike on fee to trust was issued. This time it came from a case originating in the state of Hawaii.
    In the 9-0 decision on Hawaii v. the Office of
    Hawaiian Affairs. Justice Alito wrote, "It would
    raise grave constitutional concerns" Congress sought to "cloud Hawaii's title to its
    sovereign lands" after it had joined the
    "We have emphasized that Congress cannot,
    after statehood reserve or convey....lands that
    have already been bestowed upon a state".
    How many readers of this paper
    could be effected by issues concerning
    land that has been "bestowed upon
    a state"; as an original colony, through
    disestablished territory or when the territory entered into statehood?

    The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe does NOT have land that is placed in trust.

    The Aquinnah have land on Martha's Vineyard that they also would tell you will accomodate a Slot Barn. Not so!

    You may remember that they attempted to build a shed.


    "The Aquinnah tribe’s 1987 settlement agreement and a Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decision in 2005 that upheld the basic tenets of that agreement have figured large in the casino discussion, and the notion that because the Aquinnah tribe has land in trust it has an advantage.

    The 1983 settlement agreement that led to federal recognition of the Wampanoags, was signed by the tribe, the Gay Head Taxpayers Association (since renamed the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Inc.), the town, and the state. It specifically provides that the settlement lands shall be subject to all federal, state, and local laws, including town zoning laws, state and federal conservation laws, and the regulations of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

    In the winter of 2001, the Wampanoag tribe erected a small shed on the Cook property without a town building permit. The resulting legal battle reached the SJC.

    In December 2004, the state’s highest court ruled that the tribe, then the only federally recognized tribe in Massachusetts, was not immune from zoning enforcement under its claim of sovereign immunity."

    Although Indian Gaming Regulations may be complex, there are many on Beacon Hill who should know better and are deliberateley attempting to mislead.