|Taunton-Wampanoag Indian Casino|
35-mile economic impact zone includes
more than 50 Massachusetts & Rhode Island communities
Make sure your elected officials act now – before July 2, 2012 - to protect your economic, community, environmental and public safety interests if you live in any of these Massachusetts locations near the proposed Taunton-Wampanoag Indian casino:
Abington, Assonet, Attleboro, Avon, Berkley, Bridgewater, Brockton, Buzzards Bay, Canton, Carver, Dartmouth, Dighton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Fall River, Franklin, Freetown, Halifax, Hanover, Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Middleboro, New Bedford, Norfolk, Norton, Norwell, Pembroke, Plainville, Plymouth, Plympton, Randolph, Raynham, Rehoboth, Rochester, Rockland, Sharon, Somerset, Stoughton, Swansea, Walpole, or Wareham. Impacted communities in Rhode Island include: Barrington, Bristol, Cranston, East Greenwich, Lincoln, Portsmouth, Providence, Smithfield, Tiverton, Warwick and Woonsocket.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has an application for a land in trust (LIT) reservation casino complex in Taunton, Massachusetts pending before the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau for Indian Affairs (BIA). While no one other than the Tribal Council has seen this application yet, the Tribe is required to include details on how the casino will impact surrounding communities on various fronts. These include identifying environmental, economic, public safety, traffic and community character issues along with the Tribe’s plans for mitigation of any negative impacts.
The State of Rhode Island has begun preparing reports on the negative impact the proposed Taunton-Wampanoag Indian casino will have on jobs, local businesses and the Narragansett Indian Tribe’s interests in border communities in their state. However, some local Massachusetts’ communities neighboring Taunton who tried to reach out to the City of Taunton and Tribe to request that they be included in impact related negotiations have simply shut-out and ignored. Fortunately, the Bureau for Indian Affairs will not ignore these impacted communities’ input and is current soliciting community impact concern statements now. Anyone can send a comment of concern. Those from elected officials in your community, however, will have the most weight. Ask you local selectmen, school board members, public works officials, public safety officers, state representatives and senators and others to write BIA.
You must get your letters in by July 2, 2012.
Independent economic and public safety studies shows the location of casinos impacts neighboring communities’ property values, crime rates, social service costs, road and infrastructure maintenance and local businesses within 35 to 50 miles. Traffic, environmental and community character impacts can easily be seen in any community directly bordering a casino location but the impact extends well beyond that immediate area. Issues for elected officials and community leaders in those cities and towns which border Taunton and fall within a conservative 35 mile economic impact zone should be demanding that Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Gaming Commission and the BIA require that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe research and provide mitigation strategies to address these concerns.
|The Mashpee Tribal home and offices|
are more than 50 miles away from the proposed
Taunton-Wampanoag casino site.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe offices are not within this impact zone, nor do the majority of tribe members reside within the impacted areas (Mashpee Tribe enrollment ordinances require that they live within 25 miles of the Town of Mashpee – which is more than 50 miles away from the proposed Taunton casino).
Neighboring communities can anticipate significant traffic and potential environmental impacts from this Indian casino. If you own or work for a business which might compete with those opening in the new Indian casino complex consider the words of Mashpee Wampanoag Chairman Cedric Cromwell as reported by the Boston Herald:
“We will destroy the competition because we won’t pay licensing fees or taxes!”
While Cedric was speaking then of casino competition, his remarks are equally true for restaurants, shops and attractions which will be forced to compete with the Taunton-Wampanoag Indian reservation complex. This will be further exacerbated by the economic drain slot machines have on regional economies around casinos.
University of Illinois College of Business professor John Kindt has researched casino economics for more than 20 years and is the author of multiple reports and ongoing independent (not funded by the casino industry) research into the effects of casinos on the communities and regions in which they are located. As to casino development promoters’ cornerstone promise of jobs, Kindt, notes: “Generally there is a bump lasting about two to three years. There are new construction jobs and a lot of activity as money is coming in.” But Kindt warns that the bump won’t last: “Once the project is completed, and slot machines come in, [the casino] takes everything.”
The Mashpee Wampanoag Indian reservation casino for Taunton proposal includes 3,000 slot machines. As an Indian reservation casino, state and local regulations limiting and regulating these slot machines do not apply. The Tribe will pay no taxes or fees associated with these slot machines and may independently choose to increase the number of slot machines without any local or state approvals once their reservation application is approved.
Each slot machine costs the surrounding community one job per year, Kindt says. In an article for the Ohio Law Review, he reported that within a newly established casino’s “feeder market,” business and personal bankruptcies increase between 18 and 42 percent, while “impulse” business transactions in the area decline by 65 percent.
“When billions of dollars are going into slot machines, where are those billions of dollars coming from?” Kindt told the Biscayne Times in February of 2012. “They are no longer buying cars, refrigerators, or even food and clothing.” In the case of the Taunton-Wampanoag Indian casino, those un-taxed billions will be going to the Tribe's financial backers in Malaysia helping improve the economy and job situation for Kuala Lumpur, not Massachusetts.
The Mashpee Wampanoag casino resort proposal includes a shopping mall, restaurants, water park and hotels. The Tribe’s IGA with the City of Taunton conveys to them “super water rights” which will allow them to tap into the Taunton River Watershed to support their 250 million gallon per year local water drain. These Indian reservation businesses will add additional burdens to the area economies as they will pay no sales taxes, licensing fees or bear similar costs for state and local zoning and employment regulations. Area attractions and businesses will see additional declines in revenue associated with this unfair competition.
Impact issues of concern for local communities based on Kindt’s research include:
· The gambling drain on the economy and its net negative impact on job creation (job losses, local property and sales tax declines)
· Addicted gambling and suicides (treatment and related costs)
· Gambling-caused increases in bankruptcies, crime, and prostitution (public safety cost increases)
· Gambling’s $3 in taxpayer costs for every $1 in benefits
Well beyond the borders of Taunton, communities will be impacted by casino-related competition costs, lost tax revenues and jobs will be felt at shops, restaurants and entertainment venues from the Swansea Mall to Westgate in Brockton and from Independence Mall in Kingston to Twin Rivers’ casino in Lincoln, RI. Don’t count on the Mashpee Wampanoag representing any interests or community concerns to BIA. If you and your local officials don’t speak now, you’ll have nobody to blame and no recourse later.