BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The head of the state gambling board says the race for a casino in southeastern Massachusetts could open up to commercial interests if the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe’s efforts to open a casino fall through.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

State gambling commission Chairman Stephen Crosby says the Wampanoags still face significant hurdles in their efforts to open a casino in Taunton, and the state needs to be ready in case that effort dissolves.

“We were prepared to wait for a while, thinking that we would need to wait while the tribe got their reservation land, their so-called land in trust. But now it turns out they don’t have a compact, and there are a whole host of other issues,” Crosby told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Nightside with Dan Rea.

The commission members said at the same time they want to respect the tribe’s federal rights.

Tribal council Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a letter to the commission that the tribe “continues to make great progress” in its efforts to open a casino.

State law allows for three casinos in three distinct regions of the state.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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