Update: Project FIrst Light

The Gaming Commission’s decision on Thursday to open the Southeastern Massachusetts region to commercial bids paves the way for the possibility of a fourth casino in the state and two in Southeastern Massachusetts. This not only ignores our federal rights and the progress we have made, but also undermines the Governor and legislature and jeopardizes projects in every region.

We will not be deterred from building our destination resort casino in Taunton, and if the Gaming Commission licenses a commercial casino in the region, we will operate our facility without paying any revenue to the state.

Over the last 400 years, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has experienced a long succession of broken promises by the government. We believe, however, that we have found trusted partners in Governor Patrick and the legislature, as shown in their decision to work with us to ensure hundreds of millions of dollars for Massachusetts while respecting our rights as a federally recognized tribe. Despite the Commission’s misguided decision, we will continue to move forward in partnership with the Governor and the legislature to build our destination resort casino in Taunton.

Our Tribal-State Compact is now before the Massachusetts legislature for their review. Upon its approval, the Compact will then be sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for approval, a process that takes up to 45 days.

We have not wavered from our focus of preparing to build our destination resort casino in Taunton. With the support of one of the most successful gaming companies in the world, we are continuing the planning and design process toward building a first class facility.

And, most importantly, our application for land in trust continues to progress rapidly through the review process. As soon as our land is placed in trust, we are prepared to break ground, creating thousands of good jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits for our Tribe, the City of Taunton, and our neighbors.

We will redouble our efforts to ensure legislative support and timely action by the BIA.

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