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Massachusetts gambling bill still has hurdles

TAGs: Massachusetts gambling expansion, Wampanoag tribe

red tapeWhen you look at the road block the state of California has run into with online poker, gaming proponents in Massachusetts must be hoping they aren’t heading in the same direction.

A year ago, Massachusetts was the last state you’d pick to be moving towards online poker, or even gambling expansion for that matter. Sue Tucker, a former state senator thinks the gambling expansion bill is rife with problems that will fall on the tax payers’ shoulders.
Much of the issues, Tucker believes, will become a stumbling block stem from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and the process for obtaining tribal land in trust.

State taxpayers will foot the bill estimated at around $5 million to help the governor negotiate a compact with the Wampanoag tribe before July 2012.

But as we have seen in other states, including New York, reaching an agreement on gambling expansion is much easier said than done with all the competing interests involved.

Should the bill pass in October, that will leave the governor with only nine months to first establish a gambling commission and then negotiate with Wampanoag tribe reasonable terms. As we’ve seen in California, it’s a process than can sometimes take years, even without long and costly litigation, which is a strong possibility in this bill.

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