All bets could be off, at least for players who are banking on a casino in Middleboro. The leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe confirmed he has been meeting with the mayor of Fall River but would not discuss the details.
All bets could be off, at least for players who are banking on a casino in Middleboro.
The leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe confirmed he has been meeting with the mayor of Fall River but would not discuss the details.
“The tribe has a new administration, naturally we are conducting all appropriate due diligence,” Wampanoag Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell said Thursday in a prepared statement.
Cromwell would not say if the tribe is making a bid to open a tribal casino in Fall River.
Fall River Mayor William F. Flanagan could not be reached for comment.
Middleboro officials declined to comment on the development.
When Gov. Deval Patrick proposed legislation for three resort-style casinos in 2007, the bill called for one of those casinos to be located in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Kofi Jones, spokesman for Gregory Bialecki, secretary of Housing and Economic Development, said the tribe met with her boss two weeks ago for informal talks on the tribe’s “perspective of gaming in the commonwealth.”
In July 2007, Middleboro selectmen signed an agreement with the tribe to host a $1 billion resort casino complex on more than 500 acres off Route 44.
In October, the tribe announced a scaled-back version of the original proposal and, in December, it announced a pending deal with new investors, ending a drawn-out feud with casino tycoons Sol Kerzner, Len Wolman and Herb Strather, principals of TCAM.
If the tribe has set its sights on a new location for a casino, Fall River is a city with infrastructure already in place, and the plan would fit in with the governor’s push to revitalize the depressed region.
Fall River is developing a 300-acre executive park, with its own highway exit recently built with stimulus money, and it will be connected to Boston by train when the Southcoast rail comes through.
The recent deal with new investors promises to bring an infusion of cash to the tribe.
The new partner, Arkana Limited, owned by the Malaysian family of Lim Kok Thay, an affiliate of the investment firm of Kien Huat, has cash reserves of more than $3 billion.
It is the largest casino operator in Asia and has bankrolled casino resorts in Australia, the Americas, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and Singapore.
The Mashpee isn’t the first tribe with which the Malaysia group has worked.
According to published reports, there is a complaint before the New York State Racing and Wagering Board alleging the organization hijacked the chief executive officer’s position in an bid to take over Empire Resorts.
Joseph Bernstein, former CEO, outlined a detailed scheme Kien Haut used to gain control of Empire Resorts. A countercharge was filed against Bernstein earlier this month for breach of confidentiality.
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Empire Resorts want to open an off-reservation casino in the Catskills.