Study recommends three new casinos for Massachusetts
Massachusetts would benefit from three commercial casinos, allowing two of them to be operated by American Indian tribes, according to a report by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Center for Policy Analysis.
Center Director Clyde W. Barrow, author of the report, recommended that New Bedford would be a better Southeastern Massachusetts site than Middleborough, which recently signed an agreement with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to develop a $1 billion resort casino.
Two other casinos should be located in Boston and Springfield, he said.
“If the governor and state Legislature approve world-class commercial resort casinos at Suffolk Downs [and southeastern and western Massachusetts] they will ensure Massachusetts’ dominance of New England’s gaming, entertainment, tourism, hospitality and convention and meeting industries,” Barrow said, effectively competing with casinos and racetrack/slot casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows recognized tribes such as Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag to build their own casinos on land that is taken into federal trust by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The tribes would not be required to share any of their revenues with the state.
But Barrow told the Post-Standard newspaper that the tribes would be better served by operating their own commercial casinos.
“The two tribes...could find themselves embroiled in expensive litigation that could delay the opening of an off-reservation casino for many years,” Barrow said.
“And if state officials license resort casinos at Suffolk Downs and in New Bedford first, the two tribes could find that the potential market for one or more tribal casinos is already siphoned off by the commercially-licensed facilities,” he said.
If the casinos generate $1.5 billion in gross gaming revenues, the three casinos would provide tax revenues of $400 million in their first year of operation, based on the center’s assumption that such revenue would be taxed at 27 percent.