Mass. panel examines revised tribal casino deal

Massachusetts House panel demands assurances on revised casino deal between state, tribe

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- A revised casino agreement between Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is facing tough questions from a legislative committee.

The compact, if approved by lawmakers, would replace an earlier agreement that was rejected by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

On Wednesday, members of a House panel demanded assurances from administration officials that the revised deal would pass federal muster.

Brendan Ryan, Patrick's chief-of-staff, said federal officials were consulted during negotiations. The compact calls for the tribe to pay 17 percent of gaming proceeds to the state if its proposed Taunton casino is the only gambling facility in southeastern Massachusetts.

The tribe pays nothing if another casino is built regionally.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted recently to end the tribe's exclusive regional development rights by opening the area up to commercial developers.

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