Cross posted from Bellicose Bumpkin
Twice in as many days, the Brockton Enterprise has published overly optimistic articles that promote the inevitability of an Indian casino in Middleboro. This is the sort of argument that plays well for the majority of people that aren’t up on the whole Indian casino thing. Given that the Enterprise has been following this story closely for many months, I have to wonder at their motivation for printing articles that are so one-sided. First they reported “there will be no stopping a casino” followed by a report that “The Indians have the power to open a full-blown casino”.
The short version is – unless Massachusetts has a collective brain fart and gives real class three slot machines to the Tribe, there will never be an Indian casino in Middleboro. The reason for this is simple. The tribe’s agreement with Middleboro requires them to pay $220M in infrastructure improvements and pay Middleboro $7-9M dollars per year. Without slots, there is not enough of a return on investment to build the facility. The Tribe’s investors are trying to frighten Massachusetts into believing that a Middleboro casino is inevitable – just like they bluffed the town of Middleboro.
I plan to write an Indian casinos for dummy blog at a later date, but will give the short version here. The process for gaming is:
- Land into Trust – The Mashpee Wampanoag have applied to have land in Middleboro and Mashpee put into trust and designated as initial reservations. For all intents and purposes, land into trust applications are on hold right now.
- SOI – Initial Reservation Proclamation – Once the land is put into trust, the Secretary of the Interior must designate the land as an initial reservation. It is unusual that the Mashpee Wampanoag are asking for two initial reservations – Middleboro and Mashpee. That may complicate things and one or the other may be denied. If the land in Middleboro is not recognized as an initial reservations, then things get much more difficult
- IGRA compliance – There are a whole pile of things that must be done under the IGRA even for class 2 gaming. See section 2710 for a full list.
- Tribal-State compact – In order to do class three gaming – even for gaming that is currently legal under Las Vegas nights, the tribe has to enter into a compact with the Governor. In a recent decision against the Kikapoo tribe, it was determined that Texas did not have to enter into a compact to do class 3 gaming. See Texas vs US. Even if Massachusetts if forced to enter into a compact, we DO NOT have to give them class three slots. We can also drag this out in court for years.
If you find all this stuff confusing – it is. There are a maze of interconnected laws and regulations related to Indian gaming, reservations, and so on. This is a difficult and lengthy process that can and has been stopped. And even if we can’t stop a class three Indian casino(but we can), we CAN refuse to allow class three slot machines. No slots = No ROI = No casino.
And one more thing folks. The battle against casinos is going well at the state level. I think we’re going to win that one. But remember – as Middleboro goes, so goes Massachusetts. If Governor Patrick gives class three slots to the Tribe – there will be no stopping commercial casinos in Massachusetts. So don’t forget about the fight being waged in the MiddleOfNowhereBoro.