On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission received a letter from seven legislators of the state warning the regulators against voting on the Brockton proposed casino. The legislators feel the approval of the project would reduce the amount of taxes collected by the state as the way is cleared for the tax-exempt tribal casino in Taunton could be constructed.
Legislators called for the Commission to postpone voting on the casino, which is scheduled to take place next week. The group wants to see the Commission studying the potential impact of the casino on gambling taxes first.
The concern of the lawmakers stems from the casino to be constructed by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Taunton. The tribe has already broke ground on the project, which would cost $1 billion to complete. The tribe can create the casino without the permission of the state and does not have to pay taxes on the venue if the Brockton project is approved.
When the tribe began the idea for the project in Taunton, they had an agreement with the state of Massachusetts to pay 17% in taxes based on gambling revenues if they were given exclusive rights to operate in the southern portion of the state. However, Mass Gaming & Entertainment is trying to gain permission by the state to create a venue in Brockton, which would break the agreement between the state and the tribe. The Brockton project would be located at the Fairgrounds and is just 20 miles from the Taunton venue.
As the Brockton project decision is on the horizon, the legislators want to see the Commission deny the venue unless an analysis is done by the revenue department of the state. The group believes that the Taunton venue being tax free could negatively impact the tax collections of the Commonwealth.
Legislators representing the districts located near the Plainridge Park Casino signed the letter to the commission, the area of the first casino in the state. The slot parlor would be losing business if the two resorts are built in the nearby area.
State Representative Shawn Dooley stated that it does not make sense to rush into approving another casino at this point. Elizabeth A. Poirier, another State Representative, pointed out that the legislators do not want anything threatening the success of Plainridge Park as the casino has done good things for the economy and that needs to continue.
Bill Carpenter, the Mayor of Brockton, has stated that the letter by the gaming legislators is an attempt to influence the Commission that is both inappropriate and desperate. Carpenter hopes the Commission will see the potential revenue the casino resort will have in Brockton, while A Mass Gaming & Entertainment representative stated that a casino in Brockton will generate extra taxes for the state, whether the Taunton exists or not.
The Gaming Commission is due to meet to deliberate on the Brockton project on the 26th of April, with a vote on the venue expected by the end of the month.