Thursday, 4:30 PM
Governor weighs in on casino
By April Simpson, Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick said today that he has not made up his mind on the expansion of gambling in Massachusetts and said that the state's decisions will affect the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's plans to open a $1 billion casino in Middleborough.
Patrick was briefed Wednesday by Daniel O'Connell, the state's secretary of economic affairs, whom he asked in February to head a study group looking at the pros and cons of gambling. Patrick has said he will announce his decision before Labor Day.
"It was a very, very thorough briefing, a lot of homework," Patrick said at a State House news conference. "The executive summary is several inches thick, and I have some reading I want to do further, and I want to convene the group who met with me again. I think, if anything, it confirmed how complicated this decision is.”
Town Meeting voters in Middleborough on Saturday are to decide whether to approve the tribe's deal with the town to host the casino, which it says is worth at least $11 million a year.
"I have been concerned and remain concerned that they not get ahead of themselves or this process, because frankly we are going to have to set the ground rules if there are to be ground rules, if there is to be casino gambling," Patrick said. "The fact of the matter is that Middleborugh is a long way off from a casino and what their decision could be depends entirely on the decisions that we're trying to make right now. It's in some ways a hypothetical exercise that they are going through."