Dear Tribal Member,
I am writing to share updated information on our efforts to enhance our Tribe’s economic opportunity through the development of a destination resort casino in southeastern Massachusetts. This is a monumental time for our Tribe, and I want to make sure that every tribal member understands our plans and vision, and has the opportunity to offer input on the decisions being made today that will shape our future for generations to come.
Below, I will answer some questions about the gaming law, our Tribe’s gaming ordinance, our plans, and what our economic strategy means to each and every Tribal member. I will continue to reach out to you with regular updates through letters, meetings, hearings, the Nashauonk Mittark, mashpeewampanoagtribe.com, and Facebook and Twitter to make sure you are fully informed. I also encourage your feedback and thoughts as we move ahead. We have a real opportunity to move our Tribe forward by providing additional funding for housing, healthcare, education, economic development initiatives, cultural programs and as a whole the uplift of our tribal nation. Together, we will create a vibrant economy and long term economic benefit for all Tribal members!
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Massachusetts Gaming law say about the Tribe?
The law, which authorizes three resort casinos and one slot parlor, designates southeastern Massachusetts as the dedicated region in which the Tribe can work with the state to build and operate our destination resort casino.
The law gives the Tribe and the Governor until July 31, 2012 to reach a compact agreement which must also be approved by the legislature. In addition, the host community will need to approve gaming in a referendum.
We have put together a team of experts to work with the Tribe to ensure a compact is negotiated that will be in the best interest of the Tribe and that all of our goals and timelines are met.
Where will our destination resort be located?
We are currently in the final stages of reviewing potential sites for our destination resort. We have made every effort to ensure that whatever location is chosen will be the best possible for the short and long-term success of the project, and the benefit of the Tribe. The review of locations has been confidential for several reasons, including making sure that the price of the land does not become artificially high once rumors get out about us showing interest. We hope to bring news of the final site selection to the Tribe in the very near future.
Will the Tribe have a new gaming ordinance?
Yes. Tribal Council has hired a team of national experts in Indian Gaming Law, with extensive experience working with the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), to draft a new Tribal Gaming Ordinance. This is the law under which the Tribe authorizes gaming. Council members have the opportunity to provide feedback to the team, and a draft of the ordinance will be produced with their input. This draft will be available for review by any Tribal member, and multiple hearings will be scheduled for Tribal members to learn more about the ordinance and to provide their feedback to the Council.
Once the Tribal Council approves a Gaming Ordinance, it goes to the NIGC for final approval, and it becomes law.
How will revenue from a casino benefit the Tribe?
The Tribal Council will seek input from Tribal members about how revenue from a destination resort should be spent. In addition, Tribal Council plans to hire a financial analyst to create a financial model. This model will show what money the Tribe can expect to receive at different stages of the operation of this resort while paying down debt service and also determine when per capita distributions will become available.
As you know, the Tribe has great needs in providing funding for housing, health care, education, cultural, natural resources, economic development and other programs. Tribal Council must approve any revenues to be spent on these government functions. Per capita distribution plans must be approved by both the Tribal Council and the Department of Interior.
What about job opportunities?
Yes! We plan to start holding job fairs in the very near future and hiring Tribal members who are interested in these jobs as quickly as possible. As the project progresses, there will be additional opportunities in both the development stage: construction, planning, etc., as well as the operation stage: casino operations, accounting, marketing, hospitality, etc. We expect to employ thousands of local people – Tribal members and our neighbors.
As always, many thanks for your support, guidance, ideas, and hopes for our very bright and positive future. I will continue to communicate with you as more information becomes available, and I encourage you to attend the meetings and hearings about this and other issues so you can continue to provide the Tribal Council and me with guidance as we move forward together.
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)