AUBURN, Mass. - State Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn) announced that the House voted on July 18 to approve the resolve relating to the Tribal-State Compact between the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Massachusetts.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is seeking to build a resort-style casino in Taunton.
Frost voted for it, in part, because he believed it gave Central Mass. a better opportunity to host a slot-only gaming facility.
Under the Expanded Gaming Law passed in 2011, there would be three resort-style casinos, one for each of three designated regions, and one slot-only facility, which could be bid statewide. The Gaming Compact would seek to have Taunton host the southeast region’s casino license.
“Once this Tribal-State Compact is passed, it will lead the way for a resort-style casino in Taunton,” Frost said. “Though the issue primarily relates to southeastern Mass., it may directly impact the chances and perhaps improve the chances a slot-only facility could be sited in Worcester County or Central Mass.
“This could lead to an opportunity at local jobs, both construction and permanent gaming jobs within a local gaming facility,” Frost continued.
Frost contends that should a casino be approved in Taunton, it would mean two area racetracks, Taunton-Raynham and Plainridge, which are expected to bid for the single statewide slot facility license, may not be suitable locations if they are neighbors to a casino.
“One would wonder if the Gaming Commission, who will decide which bid will be awarded the slot-only facility license, will approve a slot facility license very close to Taunton and a full casino upon passage of the Compact,” Frost said. “It likely wouldn’t make sense from a market perspective to have two gaming facilities competing right next to each other.”
Frost noted that during the Expanded Gaming debates, he was opposed to having Worcester County placed in the same region as Boston for a resort-style casino license.
“I was opposed to this because I felt Worcester County wasn’t given a fair shake in hosting a casino if a bidder had to compete with a bid from Boston or the greater Boston area,” he said. “However, it is now very possible if a gaming developer and a willing community from Worcester County could now make a viable bid for a slot facility license if the racetracks near Taunton see their bids weakened. This could very well mean local jobs and local revenue for Worcester County.”
Frost said he doesn’t know what community and gaming developer would be interested in making a serious bid in Worcester County or Central Mass. However, he noted the opportunity and landscape has now changed so anything is possible.