By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Middleborough casino fiasco is finally, officially over

I’m not sure when I first wrote that the “resort casino” the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe wanted to build in Middleborough would never come to pass. But here’s something I wrote on Aug. 28, 2007, shortly after Middleborough residents approved a deal with the tribe (widely reported) and also voted to advise officials that they did not want a casino built in town (barely reported):

Obviously the Middleborough casino will never be built. The big-money players will move on once they realize that this will be tied up in the courts for years. Dissident tribal members are already suing in federal court. Middleborough casino opponents vow to keep fighting.

Today Cape Cod Times reporter George Brennan writes that the tribe has finally, officially dropped its Middleborough proposal and is instead focusing on Fall River. An announcement is scheduled for this afternoon. Brennan, in turn, cites a report by Michael Holtzman in the Fall River Herald News that the city received a comitment letter from the tribe last Friday.

Middleborough’s gain is Fall River’s loss, and I hope folks in that economically distressed city can see through the spin and knock this down. (Holtzman notes that the casino proposal has a long way to go.) But I am nevertheless glad to see that the town where I grew up is no longer in any danger — not even theoretically — of hosting what was, at one time, intended as the world’s biggest casino.

“I’m very disappointed, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Middleborough town manager Charles Cristello tells Alice Elwell of Brockton’s Enterprise.

Mr. Cristello, your town just got saved.

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  1. Barry Kaplovitz

    An application (excuse me, a letter of commitment) to build a gambling casino in Fall River . . . ? This where sane leadership from the Governor’s office would normally prevail in decisive fashion. Why? Because not even an insane, pro-business-at-all-costs, red-meat eating conservative Governor would want a jumbo-sized gambling casino open for business in Fall River — a fragile city, treading water, with its head just barely above the water line.


  2. L.K. Collins

    BK, you just described Norwich, CT when Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were in their planning phases.

    I sure Dan wouldn’t object to it somewhere on the North Shore, say Rockport or Davers?

  3. One of the more amusing aspects of this was the Mashpee Wampanoag being challenged in their claim to the land in Middleboro by another tribe in Rhode Island. Apparently the notion of private property isn’t so Eurocentric after all.

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