Tribal casinos could move forward without voter approval

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts voters have four months to decide whether they want to repeal the state’s gaming law. The most recent Suffolk University poll shows 47% of voters disapprove of casino gambling in Massachusetts, 37% approve and 15% are undecided, but that does not necessarily mean the law will be repealed in November.

“Not everybody who disapproves wants to repeal. Some people who disapprove are fine with disapproving, but they don’t want to change the existing laws and I think that’s where you see the difference in the polling,” said David Paleologos of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center.

Even if voters repeal the state’s gaming law, two Indian tribes could still move forward with casino gambling in Massachusetts. The Mashpee Wampanoags are waiting for federal approval to take land in Taunton into trust – and if they seal that deal in time, federal law may end up trumping the state law.

“If they were to gain that land into trust before the November elections, you know, under existing statute it would be perfectly legal for them to move forward,” said State Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton).

If voters repeal the state’s gambling law, tribal casinos may be forced to limit the types of games they offer.

If the Mashpee Wampanoags get federal approval, Taunton could see a $500 million resort casino.

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