The US Bureau of Indian Affairs sent a letter to the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe on the 21st of August and confirmed that a decision will shortly be made, regarding the tribe’s proposal to build a casino in Taunton. The tribe had earlier put forward a proposal to construct a casino in Taunton but has to go through a lot of red tape in order to gain an approval to obtain a Southeastern Massachusetts casino license.
Tribes are permitted to construct casinos only on reservation land but the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe want the federal government to make an exception and grant them around land which amounts to around 150 acres in Taunton. The tribe has requested the Federal government to trust them with this land and to declare it as a reservation land, so that they will be able to go ahead and construct a new casino in Taunton.
There has been a lot of competition and controversy surrounding the approval of new licenses in Massachusetts. MGM Grand is currently in the process of building a mega-casino in Springfield, while Wynn Resorts are expected to construct a billion dollar casino in Everett.
KG Urban, a New York real estate developer was also expected to build a casino in New Bedford as the firm had spent over 8 years and $10 million in doing the ground work to get approval to build a casino. However, the firm decided to withdraw its proposal at the last minute stating that it was unable to raise sufficient funds from its investors who were concerned about the profitability of the New Bedford casino.
One of the reasons why KG Urban financial backers decided to withdraw their support was because they felt it would be hard for the new casino to post consistent profits due to the competition of other casinos in Massachusetts, especially the new casino which has been proposed for Taunton.
Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe officials are confident that in the next 30 days they will get necessary approval to go ahead with the Taunton casino proposal. In a statement, Arlinda Locklear, the attorney who is representing the tribe said
This is a sign of progress in that the tribe’s application is being worked on and it remains a priority. It is a hopeful sign, but it doesn’t tell us what the decision is or when exactly it will be made