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Wampanoag casino plan meets strong opposition

The Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe had made a substantial land purchase in Middleboro, Massachusetts to be used as a casino site.

Wampanoag casino plan meets strong oppositionIt has been reported that negotiations between the town and the Indian tribe will soon be under way for which could be the building of the first casino in the state. Last month the tribe bought 128 acres off Precinct Street on an auction by the town for $1.7 million, and the Wampanoag have purchased an option from a landowner for another 225 acres adjacent to the auctioned property, which would give them 353 acres for a future casino site.

The town manager claims that a future casino would greatly improve the employment opportunities of the towb, which has been in "layoff mode" for quite some time. The money from the auctioned land sale alone would take care of the next year's budget deficit. The town selectman also claim that they will hear the people on the issue.

The casino, however, seems to be meeting quite strong opposition. In the beginning of the week, the selectman have reversed a previous decision, due to public pressure, and agreed to hold a non binding referendum. The earliest possible time for such referendum, however, is the next April, since a non binding referendum has to be held at the same time as a regular annual town election, and one was just held.

The casino opposition is claiming backdoor deals between the town selectmen and the Indian tribe, and are lining up to sign an earlier petition, accusing three of the selectmen in fiscal mismanagement and calling for the resignation of the three. The debates heated even more when a couple of weeks ago a suggestion for a referendum on the casino plan was voted down by the selectman.

The Wampanoag tribe chairman has stated that they are going to listen to the community and help them overcome any objections of a future casino.


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