An Indian casino for Fall River?

The Cape Cod Times reports that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is negotiating with Fall River officials to build a casino in that city — a claim that tribal council chairman Cedric Cromwell more or less denies, saying he remains committed to building a casino in Middleborough.

A casino would be bad news anywhere in Massachusetts. But, all things considered, an economically depressed city such as Fall River makes more sense than Middleborough, whose rural character would be harmed significantly by such a venture.

Friday morning update: The Cape Cod Times, as promised, has more details today. And it looks like negotiations are off to a fine start. Fall River Mayor William Flanagan tells the Times, on the record, that he has met with tribal leaders to talk about a casino. Cromwell denies it.

20 thoughts on “An Indian casino for Fall River?

  1. Gee Dan, as a Fall River resident I have to say I resent this posting. I am not aware that the Wampanoags are negotiating here. It has not been reported locally nor have I heard it through my network. It has been reported that New Bedford officials are seeking a casino.

    Regardless, cities like Fall River and New Bedford, or Lowell and Lawrence, are often held up us preferable sites for facilities that no one wants in their back yard…..a casino, an LNG facility (we’ve been fighting that proposal for years), strip clubs, affordable housing, I could keep going, but I won’t.

    I’ve heard it argued too many times by residents of affluent suburbs that such facilities and institutions make more sense in the city. Please……

    You may not be aware that the Aquinnah Wampanoags (from Martha’s Vineyard), soon after they achieved federal recognition back in the 90s, worked with Fall River officials to locate a casino here. It was put to a vote and we resoundingly voted it down. The proposal was withdrawn.

    I hope Middleboro never has its rural character defaced by a casino. But perhaps you can explain to me how Fall River’s urban character would not be degraded as much?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Mike: I apologize for suggesting I’d rather see a casino in Fall River than in Middleborough. I meant it, but it’s because I’m a native of Middleborough, not because I wish such a blight on Fall River, and it led me to make an unfortunate statement. My first preference is no casinos anywhere.

      The Cape Cod Times has done a better job of reporting on the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe than anyone else. I suggest you stay tuned, as it’s promising a more detailed story tomorrow.

  2. NEWSHOUND

    I like that Dan – no casinos anywhere.

    It is hard to predict how much more harm could come to Fall River. The waterfront park is nice, and the river now has a national designation thanks largely to the work of many local people and Representatives Jim McGovern and Barney Frank.

    Congressman Frank at an opening celebration pointed out that many of the area residents will never have the opportunity to visit a national park such as Yosemite or Acadia, and it is so darn true. Now, the poorer people of Fall River have a beautiful resource with national protection. Fall River was once the wealthiest city in North America, the largest textile center this side of the Atlantic, second only in the world to Manchester, England.

    Barney Frank said when he showed a picture of the Taunton River to his political cronies in Washington he was accused of having it doctored up. They wouldn’t believe him that it really is so beautiful.

    Fall River doesn’t have the hustle and bustle it once had when along with textiles it was the route from Boston by train to the Fall River Line for sailing to New York overnight, or the manufacturing of thousands of pianos a year, or its big derby manufacturing business.

    There’s a lot wrong with Fall River, but there are more than a handful of great people who contribute, some even struggling, to make it a better place. It has a very spirited and high quality, mostly affordable two-year college as one of its most tremendous assets, and thousands of acres – the largest bioreserve in the state, of protected forest.

    If there is a proposal for a casino why not Gay Head? Frankly, I’m against it there, too. I agree wholeheartedly with Dan.

  3. Ben

    Fall River and New Bedford are two cities that have lost their economic reason for existence. People need jobs, so it’s easy to understand support for casinos here. Support is especially strong in New Bedford. I can’t recall any recent polls from Fall River, but I wouldn’t be surprised if support is growing here as well.

    On a slightly related issue, Fall River is still trying in vain to keep strip clubs from opening: http://www.heraldnews.com/business/x1920343528/Fall-River-Planning-Board-endorses-Flanagans-strict-rules-for-strip-clubs

  4. O-FISH-L

    Casinos should be allowed on the first floor of any hotel (or equivalent facility) that wants one in the ten largest cities in MA. Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge, Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Quincy and Lynn.

    Spread across ten cities, there will be no major crime impacts nor need for huge infrastructure improvements. The license to operate a casino would be sold, with the revenue from the ten licenses equaling or surpassing what a license for one resort casino might cost.

    Those of us who play the table games would rather one table of gamblers who know what they’re doing, than 100 tables of yahoos with no idea.

  5. Harrybosch

    “I am not aware that the Wampanoags are negotiating here.”

    Well, if the Cape Cod Times is to be believed . . . you are now.

    “Regardless, cities like Fall River and New Bedford, or Lowell and Lawrence, are often held up us preferable sites for facilities that no one wants in their back yard”

    I recall lots of talk about North Adams.

    Nevertheless, I simply don’t understand how this hasn’t happened by now. The courts have affirmed again and again that these tribes have the right to build a casino (in fact, if I remember right, they had the right to build one on Martha’s Vineyard.)

    But I also read quite a bit about infighting and corruption among the tribal leaders, so perhaps that’s why it hasn’t happened yet. One can only wonder how much worse THAT will get once the inevitable Indian casino does get built.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Harrybosch: The tribes do not have the right to build a casino in a state where casinos are illegal, which is currently the case in Massachusetts. The Middleborough proposal is so bogged down by corruption, dubious tactics by proponents that could be challenged in court and even a Supreme Court decision that would have to be undone before the Mashpee Wampanoags could move ahead, that it will never happen. Here’s your starting point.

  6. NEWSHOUND

    Mr. Fish – I wonder if you have recently stayed at any of Fall River’s finest five-star hotels in recent years. Sadly, when it comes to accommodations, Fall River is much different than Paris.

    The only accommodation within the inner city is a bed and breakfast primarily to experience the murder of Andrew and Mrs. Bordon, one in which a medium claims Mr. Bordon still encircles the house and as such, remaining committed to his renowned character, would be mighty resistant to a slot machine replacing the couch in the front parlor where he was murdered 120 years ago.

    Within the city limits other than a multitude of nursing homes and numerous half-way houses and institutions for those sent from all over the state to Fall River for recovery from addiction, is a remote, old Best Weston in the Industrial Park on Airport Road, the airport thus closed and a 200 foot high hill of rubbish built on it next to the city’s protected reservoir, with such destruction and violation to the natural resource. This was allowed so that revenue could flow to the city by accepting much of the rubbish from Southeastern Massachusetts.

    But, then again, for a different experience at the Bordon residence, perhaps one table of gamblers at the old dining room table where Mr. and Mrs. Bordon ate their breakfast one fine summer morning, and were laid upon in the afternoon for an autopsy and have their stomachs removed for further analysis.

    Better still, Mr. Fish, maybe reduce the list to nine and remove Fall River from the bottom.

  7. Harrybosch

    “The tribes do not have the right to build a casino in a state where casinos are illegal.”

    It is my understanding that they do, on their own tribal lands. Is that not correct?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Harrybosch: You are incorrect. Without casinos being legalized, the tribes are stuck with bingo. Not very lucrative.

  8. Harrybosch

    “Without casinos being legalized, the tribes are stuck with bingo. Not very lucrative.”

    More lucrative than nothing (and that’s how Foxwoods began.)

    But thanks.

  9. O-FISH-L

    @Newshound. Point taken. Obviously the free market would dictate where and how many of these casinos would pop up. My point is to decentralize them so that there is not just one or two destination casinos with all of the impacts, both real and perceived, on one or two regions.

  10. Ben

    Newshound: Wouldn’t the Best Western be an ideal place for a casino, right next to the future strip club? Well, it’s the location that _should_ be the future strip club. It’s amazing to me that city leaders would rather see a strip club end up in some neighborhood than to just stick it between Rt. 24 and that giant mountain of trash.

  11. Mike Coughlin

    The Fall River Herald posted an article today with quotes from Mayor Flanagan and the tribe that downplay the whole thing. Flanagan is quoted calling a casino in the city a “double-edged sword” and the tribe says its interest in the city is “overblown”.

    So much for the “fine start” to the negotiations. Flanagan had this meeting before he was sworn in and had not consulted anyone else. Maybe it will end up taking off…I hope not and tend to doubt it.

  12. Newshound

    Ben – so funny. City leaders do not want a strip club anywhere. They are being pushed to give in someplace. No matter where, city leaders are insightful enough to know the residents look better wearing their clothes. Best Western at Airport Road, as you know, has been hotly challenged for years.

    As you may know, too, part of the concept is to have the casino easily accessible from a proposed train station as a means to exploit all the Boston area gamblers. The airport is ruined, and the train can’t get up the hill to Best Western.

    Mr. Fish, you appear to have a unique business plan for decentralizing a casino into ten tables in ten locations instead of 100 tables at one location. I’m dead set against casinos no matter what, but you have a wonderful idea to explore and at that, maybe having this table in constant motion so it can be at the bar at Corky Row so as to distract from the occasional stabbings and murders that occur there too frequently, and then maybe a week or two at the Republican Club in Border City for a while.

    In the meantime though, Mr. Fish, if you want to play games at a table you could visit at any number of half way houses with struggling addicts and bring along a monopoly or chess board. Many of these addicts are bright, personable, decent people.

    Still, again, Fall River has a mentor program for the many school children deprived of sufficient parenting related to diverse problems, some of which is just plain down and out without decent employment opportunity, along with gambling, drug and alcohol addiction.

    Still, too, if you like cards you could volunteer teaching a game with culture such as Bridge, perhaps at the Boys Club.

    I’m just simply suggesting Fall River needs help with something constructive to rebuild for the quality of life, instead of something culturally destructive. I can’t think of anyplace in the state that should be a target of destruction.

    In the meantime, though, Fall River can use all the good help it can get.

  13. Newshound

    And, Ben, you are so right about location. We don’t want the boys distracted looking out the window from the Boys Club viewing the contract laborers walking to the nearby job site of the proposed strip club. Hey, I know it’s a few blocks away, but sometimes you have to reach out for talent.

    But, then again, should you reconsider Best Western and having these contract laborers coming and going as a distraction next to Fire Department Headquarters?

    Wouldn’t it be great if were were discussing real jobs in real factories manufacturing products of value, instead of the natives dancing around without their clothes on, being financially supported by dysfunctional people living on disability social security way below the age of maturity. And, it’s all legal.

  14. Ben

    “No matter where, city leaders are insightful enough to know the residents look better wearing their clothes.”

    Let’s just say that in the land of deep fried pork bellies and the jelly donut side dish, we’re not known for our exotic dancers. You know what that means… outsiders (grrr…).

    The arguments for a casino are compelling, but it’s certainly not an economic panacea. I feel the same way about a Boston train (So we’ll be more developed, like Brockton?).

  15. NEWSHOUND

    That a boy Ben. I think you’re helping scare away the outsiders to go take a look. Good advice. I can’t imagine it would be worth the trip.

  16. KARA MCGOVERN

    I LIVE IN FALL RIVER AND WILL HAVE TO PUT UP MY HOUSE FOR SALE AND RUN AS FAST AS I CAN IF THEY PUT A CASINO IN FALL RIVER..THE TRAFFIC AND ALL THE KAOS THAT THE CASINOS CAUSE WILL BE DEVASTATING FOR THE CITY…IT WILL NOT ONLY BE TOO CLOSE TO RURAL HOUSING IT WILL ALSO BE A PARASITE ON A CITY I GREW UP IN…I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHICH POLITICIANS ARE GREASING THEIR POCKETS TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN???? MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD LOOK INTO THAT…GO AWAY CASINO YOU ARE NOT WANTED BY THE GOOD CITIZENS THAT LIVE IN FALL RIVER…I SEE PEOPLE THAT ARE FOR THIS..HMMMMMMM I WONDER IF THEY EVEN LIVE IN FALL RIVER…ITS NOT SO BAD IF YOU ARE SAY 2O MINS TO A HALF HOUR AWAY..BUT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO LIVE IN THE CITY WILL SUFFER..THANK YOU LINDA PERERIA FOR NOT GOING A LONG WITH THE MONEY GRUBBING OTHERS…

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