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Massachusetts tribal chairman proposes fresh look on casino plans

A cautious approach to gambling is intended by the newest head of the Mashpee Wampanoag Massachusetts tribe, Brian Weeden.

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Taking primary steps into his first year in office, the youngest ever Chairman, at 29, aims to attend to social challenges and economic opportunities for tribal members. 

Weeden stated that President Joe Biden’s administration to affirm the tribe’s reservation gives legality for the tribe to expand in its casino ventures, pursuing long-awaited goals.

That being said, however, he wanted members and tribal leaders to evaluate ideas with ‘fresh eyes’ given the changes in gambling over the last few years. 

With three major casinos operating in Massachusetts, MGM Springfield, slot parlour Plairidge Park and Encore Boston Harbor, state lawmakers are considering legalising sports betting.

Weeden said: “We’re back to the drawing board, basically. There’s still an appetite for gaming. It just needs to be a smart approach. It has to be different from the past. We need to learn from our mistakes and proceed with caution.”

Although big plans are in the pipeline, anti-casino residents in Taunton, home of the proposed projects, have asked a Boston federal judge to reconsider the option and reopen their legal challenge; they state that Taunton shouldn't have been included as it isn't near the tribe's home on Cape Cod, thus, not part of the historical domain. 

Not for the first time, the conversation surrounding gambling seems to be causing a rift.


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