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Leaf Home arrow The News arrow North East News arrow Letter explains feds' default casino approval
Letter explains feds' default casino approval
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Letter explains feds' default casino approval
January 14, 2014

MASHPEE — The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's compact with Gov. Deval Patrick for a $500 million casino in Taunton violates an aspect of federal Indian casino law, but that was not enough for the federal government to reject the deal, according to a Jan. 6 letter to the tribe from the assistant secretary of Indian Affairs.

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs allowed the 45-day review period to lapse without issuing a decision on the compact, approving it by default.

According to Kevin Washburn's letter, released by the bureau Monday, he had concerns with the state's attempt to regulate a Class II casino, which is high-stakes bingo or so-called bingo slots. Federal law gives tribes and the National Indian Gaming Commission the authority for such facilities.

"We caution the parties that, in implementing the compact, they should avoid applying its provisions in a manner that does not directly relate to the operation of Class III gaming activities, and thus avoid any potential violation of (the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) regarding the limited scope of tribal-state gaming compacts," he wrote.

If the state were to license a commercial casino in the same region, according to the letter, the tribe would be entitled to offer Class III games, which are Las Vegas-style slots and table games, without paying the state any revenue.

Washburn did praise both the tribe and the Patrick administration for their "diligence and hard work" in addressing concerns he raised in the 2012 rejection of the first compact. The tribe's land application remains under separate review by the bureau.

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