Monday, September 3, 2007

The Massachusetts Threat

In 2003, presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts. Romney disliked the thought of having casinos in that state and suggested that if the Indian tribes from Connecticut helped with their state budget, then Massachusetts might avoid having casinos.

After hearing that news, the Tribe did not investigate the idea any further. “The plan clearly appears to be like a form of extortion,” said then-Mohegan tribal chairman Mark Brown.

Four years later, the state of Massachusetts could finally be on the verge of approving casino gambling and the Tribe finds itself scrambling in an effort to cover the potential loss of revenues. The Mashantucket Pequot Nation reports that 35% of its customers come from Massachusetts while the Mohegans say about half that many customers from Massachusetts visit its casino.

Current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is expected to announce in September what form casino gambling may take in that state and which groups will be eligible to run the casinos. Last week, the Tribe made public its vision of a $1 billion casino in Massachusetts but it is not clear if the Tribe is under serious consideration.