S.E. Massachusetts: Panel poised to end tribe’s casino exclusivity

(AP) – The state gambling commission appears poised to end the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s exclusive right to develop a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission declined to vote Tuesday on opening up the region to bids from commercial casino developers. Instead, it allowed two weeks for additional comment on whether to open the region.

The state’s 2011 casino law gave the Wampanoag exclusive rights in the southeast region, but gave the commission power to request commercial bids.

The tribe argues the commission can’t allow bidders before the completion of a federal process that decides if they’ll get the needed land for their $500 million Taunton project. Commission members say they do have that right.

Commission members worried lengthy delays for the tribe’s project were likely, meaning fewer casino benefits for a struggling region.

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