Legislators sent warning letter to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

The Mashpee Wampanoag’s casino is being built in reservation land in Taunton.

The lawmakers noted that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe would not have to pay state taxes on the US$1 billion casino is building if the commission approves the proposed Brockton casino.

US.- In a letter sent to the state’s Gambling Commission, seven Massachusetts lawmakers called on the members to ask the state Department of Revenue for an analysis that “conclusively demonstrates that a tax-free casino in Taunton does not negatively affect total commonwealth tax collections.”

In the event the Gaming Commission approves a proposed Brockton casino next week, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe would be exempt from paying state taxes on the US$1 billion casino it is building in Taunton. The commission will begin to debate on Tuesday the Brockton casino license, whilst the decision is expected later in the week.

“The prospect of a tax-free 
casino operating within the commonwealth was not a rationale for either the Legislature’s decision to expand gaming, nor, we are sure, for the more than 1.2 million Massachusetts voters who supported our decision via referendum at the last election,” says the letter.

The Wampanoags agreed to pay the state 17 percent of gambling revenue in taxes. However, this agreement applies only if they had exclusive rights to run a resort casino in Southeastern Massachusetts as the tribe does not need the state’s permission to build its gambling facility. Therefore, if the commission grants Mass Gaming & Entertainment a license to build a US$677 million resort casino less than 25 miles away in Brockton, the tribe would be exempt from paying any state taxes.

The Gaming Commission has not yet had a chance to review the letter, said spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll in a statement. “However, a thorough financial analysis is an important part of our overall evaluation for Region C,” expressed Driscoll, “and the final analysis will be discussed at length during next week’s public meetings.”