Friday, August 19, 2011

Greg Bialecki: Indian gaming liar, stooge or both?

State House News Service is reporting today that Governor Deval Patrick’s point man on gambling legislation Gregory Bialecki is on the march to mislead lawmakers about a “Tribal Gaming Reality” in an attempt to push the Governor’s agenda of including an Indian casino preference in pending Massachusetts gambling legislation.  Bialecki has written lawmakers making blatantly misleading and false statements about the Wampanoag’s status and legal ability to engage in Indian gaming.  

Is Bialecki just a liar?  Is he an ignorant stooge working on behalf of the Governor’s lobbyist cronies like Doug Rubin?  Regardless, he’s either a very dumb lawyer or dumb politician, because people in his position tend to get in big trouble when they mislead the legislature through deceit or ignorance.

We know about Bialecki’s history of inconsistencies, contradictions and misleading statements to legislators and the public on casino gaming issues, but this latest round of blatant lies and misdirection takes the cake.  Here’s what State House News reports the Governor’s gaming henchman is telling legislators:

If Massachusetts lawmakers and Gov. Deval Patrick legalize casino gambling, Native American tribes will be “legally entitled to conduct gaming” as soon as they obtain land, Patrick’s economic development chief said Friday in a letter to lawmakers. “Governor Patrick believes that limiting the number of destination resort casinos to no more than three distributed throughout defined regions of the state is the best way to maintain valuable market capacity and maximize short and long-term job creation and economic development opportunities for the entire commonwealth,” wrote Greg Bialecki, secretary of housing and economic development, in a letter to members of the state’s southeastern legislative delegation. “The federally recognized Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Southeastern Massachusetts will be legally entitled to conduct gaming on their tribal lands upon successful resolution of their land-in-trust application with the Federal government. We believe it is important that any gaming legislation account for and address this tribal gaming reality.” Lawmakers from New Bedford, Fall River and other southeastern Massachusetts communities are urging the administration and legislative leaders to ensure that the tribes receive no favorable treatment in long-anticipated gambling legislation. They argued that favoring the tribes would disadvantage interested developers in other parts of the region and that a tribal casino could get bogged down in litigation, delaying any potential benefits.

What’s so deceitful and absurd about Bialecki’s statements on behalf of Governor “I don’t count every check” Patrick is the suggestion that Indian tribes like the Wampanoag will have the right and will start setting up casinos the minute Massachusetts makes them legal.  The fact is, current federal law and the Supreme Court Carcieri Decision make it illegal for an Indian tribe like the Mashpee Wampanoag to establish necessary lands in trust to set up an Indian casino.

This is not some simple matter of “resolving their land in trust application issue” and Bialecki and the Governor know this.  There is no current resolution pending anywhere for the Wampanoag – just ask the Department of the Interior.  The United States Congress must FIRST draft and pass legislation which would make it legal for the newly recognized tribes like the Wampanoag to take lands into trust for the purposes of creating a reservation on which they could then apply for permission to create a casino. 

Such legislative “fixes” to the Carcieri Decision have been attempted multiple times over multiple years and have failed.  The chances of such legislation passing anytime soon are slim to none as Senators and Representatives from states with established Indian and other gaming operations which would suffer from the new competition have successfully prevented this in the past and have pledged to do so in the future.  Do Bialecki and Patrick really believe New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut lawmakers have any interest whatsoever in helping move legislation that will create economic harm to their states?  The Governor of Rhode Island recent commissioned a study on the economic impact a casino located in Southeast Massachusetts will have on that state’s Twin Rivers casino - specifically for the purpose of having the evidence ready for required Department of Interior reviews to block the Wampanoag's plans. 

Let’s say the Wampanoag’s lobbyists, like Bill Delahunt, are somehow able to magically get this legislation passed and signed into law.  Once that happens the Wampanoag then need to BEGIN (not resolve some existing application in process) the process of securing lands in trust.  There are nearly 2,000 existing applications already ahead of the Wampanoag’s for this purpose at the Department of the Interior.  Further, the tribe would also need to secure a gaming license with significant regulatory hurdles and requirements, one of which is addressing potentially negative economic impact such a license might have on existing business.  On this one point alone, the Governor of Massachusetts (or Rhode Island or Connecticut for example) would be able to block such a gaming operation if it threatened to take jobs or business away from an existing operation.  This land in trust application and gaming license process at best is a 3-5 year process to resolution – with many tribes not receiving permission and others taking 15 years or more to resolve.

The facts are clear.  Bialecki and the Governor are twisting the facts and manipulating the truth when they make representations to legislators that there is an Indian gaming reality pending for Massachusetts.  In fact, the best way to ensure Massachusetts sees no jobs or economic benefits in the near term from approved gaming is to include a tribal preference.   Indian gaming offers no benefits to the state even if after years of legislative haggling and administrative processes the Wampanoag’s are allowed to build their reservation casino complex.   If this very unlikely series of events happens, then the state cannot regulate or influence what happens on Indian reservations in any manner whatsoever.

1.      The state cannot tax or share in their profits (less money for the state). 

2.      The state cannot secure license fees or sales taxes on slot machines sold (again, less money for the state). 

3.      The state cannot tax liquor, food, clothing, hotel rooms or other items sold on Indian reservation casino shopping malls and resorts (less money for the state, lost tax money from existing business and unfair competition resulting in lost jobs and income for local business). 

Why Governor Patrick and his crack casino team think this is a good outcome for the people of Massachusetts is beyond imagination.  Our elected officials understand that non-competitive special interest carves outs like this are bad for the state.  As we truly cannot believe the Governor and Bialecki are simply ignorant of these facts?  Or are they just lying stooges for their Indian gaming and slot machine industry pals and campaign contributors?


  1. I think most people haven't a clue about the down sides of Indian casinos or the corruption that comes with any gambling activities. Everyone is just rushing to cash in on promised jobs and big bucks for the state budget.

    What will we do when the jobs don't show, the money's not there and the politicians are retired and working for the casino as lobbyists? Gov. Patrick and Mr. Bialecki should consider what it's going to be like sharing a cell with Sal DiMasi when the sh%t hits the fan on this scandal.

  2. Cin - I've been singing this song for 4 years now and never fail to be astounded by the foolishness of people and government that quickly follows the word "casino".

    Patrick and Bialecki are either:
    1. lying
    2. stupid
    3. trying to appear that they are dealing with the Mashpee in good faith. Bad things can happen at Compact time if a case can be made that they aren't.
    4. all of the above

  3. You are all idiots. Casinos are just another amenity for adults to enjoy when and if they choose. Screw the moronic talk about justifying it for the jobs and it makes no sense to give indian tribes preference. Open it up to the highest bidder and the best projects. I look forward to the day when I don't have to drive to CT if we want to partake in gaming.

  4. The worldly answer is that this will attract the old money.

  5. The heavenly answer is that we don't become hookers even though were poor.

  6. As I get older and more snakey, I think, well on we blow money at a carnival and circus.

  7. Any other ideas of something we can host with shows and buffets?