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Massachusetts looks at gaming

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BOSTON - Mohegan Tribal Chairman Mark Brown told Indian Country Today that
the tribe was looking to national diversification because of the nearly
inevitable prospect of increased competition in southern New England. Both
the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation have
received positive "Final Determinations" on their recognition petitions and
are now waiting out appeals by hostile politicians. And now competition
from across the border, either in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, is
increasingly likely.

Gaming, a perennial issue in the Bay State, is "back on the table" with a
new legislative leadership, state politicians are saying. State Treasurer
Timothy Cahill told a local newspaper that the recent resignation of House
Speaker Thomas Finneran removed a formidable obstacle to the drive to open
the state to racinos and Class III casinos. He predicted that the
Republican-sponsored drive, which foundered in the previous session, now
might have its "best shot ever."

The previous bill proposed 6,000 slot machines for the state's four
racetracks, and another 3,000 at two new venues. The measure would open the
door to a possible casino for the state's one federally recognized tribe,
the Wampanoag of Gay Head (Aquinnah). The tribe, located on the island of
Martha's Vineyard, in the past has explored an off-reservation site on the
more accessible mainland.

The state bill would also raise the stakes for the protracted recognition
struggle of two related petitioners, the Nipmuc Nation and the
Chaubunagungamaug Band of Nipmuck Indians, who are now appealing a
controversial rejection from the BIA's Office of Federal Acknowledgement.

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