Thursday, July 21, 2011

Massachusetts casino gaming with a tribal preference – do our elected officials understand what they’re doing to us?

Lobbyists for Indian tribes, financed by their backers in Malaysia and South Africa, along with the lobbyists for the slot machine and video poker companies have been paid millions of dollars and have funneled hundreds of thousands more in campaign cash to state legislators to make sure special tribal preference language is part of Massachusetts gambling legislation.  They’ve impressed upon our politically correct elected officials that we owe this to the disenfranchised Native Americans living among us.  What’s really behind this scheming?  

The Massachusetts Indian tribes, mainly the Mashpee Wampanoag, need this special carve out because they currently don’t qualify to set up an Indian casino and need this tribal preference to hold off any competition until such a time as they’re able to overcome all the various hurdles they face.  Previous Massachusetts gaming legislative proposals mistakenly believed they could force the tribes to pay fees and share revenues – something the Supreme Court and Indian Gaming regulatory authorities have clearly said cannot be enforced.  Once a tribe like the Mashpee Wampanoag qualifies under federal law, they won’t need any state permission or legislation to set up a casino.  The Mashpee Wampanoag and their financial backers from Malaysia know this and their position was made clear by the tribe in 2010 telling the media:

If the Mashpee tribe does not get the (sole, non-competitive) commercial license in this part of the state, it will compete head-on with the company that does, Tribal council chairman Cedric Cromwell said. "If we have land into trust, we could do class II gaming and not give (the state) a dime.” Adding, 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.”

“Great player experience with more wins” is code for more, unrestricted slot machines.  And, the slot machine and video poker companies are big players here.  These companies, like the one represented by former Deval Patrick aid Doug Rubin, benefit more from Indian casino operations than state regulated non-Indian casinos – selling slot machines at $10,000 to $30,000 apiece and up means more than $100 million in sales for each Indian casino like Foxwoods.  Slot limits, sales taxes and licensing fees required by the state when slot companies sell to non-Indian casinos makes those much less attractive and less lucrative than Indian gaming operations which are free from such messy restrictions and costs imposed by the state.

Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Therese Murray and these gambling lobbyists hope we’re not paying attention to the details and costs for the Commonwealth, our local communities and the people of Massachusetts if this special interest carve out is included in the legislation which is expected to be presented to the legislature this September.  We are paying attention and suggest that our elected officials in the State Legislature pay heed as well.

A tribal preference, no matter how crafted, will mean three simple things: 1. Less revenue for the state budget; 2. Longer wait for desired development and casino jobs; and 3. Loss of local jurisdiction and controls for the impacted communities.  Who benefits?  Just the tribe’s foreign financial backers and the slot machine companies.  We’re watching.


  1. The tribe would still have to do a compact with the state and give the state money because they would be using the state and towns services ( fire,police,ambulance etc.Also if they do not have land in to trust the only way would be a commercial casino . It would not fall under IGRA. And it would not revert to a Indian Casino after and if they did get land into trust no matter what Cedric Cromwell says no such thing as a Hybred Casino (starts out as a commercial and then goes to a Indian Casino with IGRA protecting the poor Indians). Cedric screwed up the whole process leaving Middleboro because he was jealous of the deal even though he was part of the deal and the process.Its all about the benjamins with Cedric.

  2. As far as I'm concerned, a casino for the Tribe is a dead issue, and the sooner the members get this through their skulls, the sooner we can clean up this mess that Cromwell & Co. have created. That won't happen until these bums are out on the street, or in jail.

  3. I don't understand why they still need to put up places like this big casino when people could already play online blackjack as well as other casino games through the internet. If you ask me, it will be better to just limit the access of casino gaming to those who can truly afford such an expensive vice.

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