A Message from Chairman Crosby regarding the status of expanded gaming in Southeastern Massachusetts
In light of the Commission’s most recent request for public comment regarding Region C (Southeastern Mass) as well as recent media reports, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight several key points in our ongoing deliberations:
- The Commission is keenly aware that the Commonwealth’s expanded gaming legislation contemplated only one casino in Region C. But it is equally true that the legislation did not contemplate Region C being left in a state of extended uncertainty while the other regions moved forward. Reconciling these two competing public policy goals fairly is the challenge the Commission is now trying to meet.
- The Commission is considering a plan for Region C with the broadest range of options for the most parties, including protecting the Tribe’s option of getting land in trust in timely fashion, a plan that promotes the robust competition that has so successfully served the best interests of the Commonwealth in Regions A (Eastern Mass) and B (Western Mass). Under this plan, we would open Region C to commercial bidders, while the Tribe proceeds with its quest to get a Compact approved by the Legislature and its land in trust from the Department of the Interior. After the Commission reviews any commercial proposals we receive, we will then look at all the facts as they are at that time—including whether the Tribe has its land in trust and is ready to proceed with its project, and then decide what course of action is in the best interest of the Commonwealth and Southeastern Mass.
- As we have said repeatedly, the Commission is deeply committed to understanding and acknowledging the Tribe’s legitimate interests and the progress the Tribe and the City of Taunton have made toward creation of a casino in Region C. This effort included a lengthy public hearing in Southeastern Mass to which all parties were invited to help us understand their views and beliefs, at which the Tribe and many of its supporters spoke; and at the Tribe’s urging, we contacted and discussed this issue with the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior who is responsible for this matter in Washington.
- At the same time, the Commission would be shirking its fundamental responsibilities if it failed to look at alternatives, since the status of the Tribe’s application for land in trust, and its ability to proceed with its casino project, cannot be predicted with certainty. As a result, we believe we must consider other steps that will protect the interests of the people of Southeastern Mass.
Finding the appropriate balance among all of these interests and concerns is not an easy task. But it is a task to which the Commission is committed. For that reason, the Commission took the lead in asking for public comment on the issue. The Commission’s request for comment remains posted at http://massgaming.com/news-events/requests-for-public-comments/ and it urges all interested members of the public to provide their comments. MGC will discuss Region C at its next open public meeting on Thursday, April 18th.
Below please find video footage of a recent open meeting in Region C where Commissioners heard from numerous constituents with varying opinions on next steps for Southeastern Mass. Please note that the discussion regarding Region C begins approvimately 33 minutes into the below video and continues in a second video/Part 2. Part 2 of the below video is also available on MGC’s YouTube channel.
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