Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The Tribe has failed to provide any documentation to support the Tribe's need for the acquisition as required under 25 C.F.R. & 15 1.1 1 (a) (specifically 25 C.F.R. & 15 l.lO(b)) and Checklist, Part 1, Section VIII.C.

Comments on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's Land-In-Trust Application to the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
February 2, 2008

Ironically, Gladys has also informed the BIA that the Tribe doesn't "need" a casino. And furthermore, they certainly don't need 539 acres in Middleboro to get rich quick from the gambling industry.

Let me explain.

What arm of the gambling business currently pulls in $18 billion dollars a year, is illegal in the United States, and yet almost completely unregulated and unenforced?

Internet gambling.

This is because the doors of virtual on-line casinos are open to the entire world. Anyone, anytime, anywhere, with only an internet connection and money to lose, can play. And all of that money, and all of the industry's internal operations are outside the reach of the law, because the gambling is accomplished via a network of computers outside of U.S. jurisdiction. And at any given moment, there are half a million people playing.

Interestingly enough, Internet gambling is also illegal in Canada - but that didn't stop the enterprising Mohawk Nation.

According to a recent segment on the TV program 60 Minutes,
virtual poker games are actually run on computer servers from a Canadian Indian reservation outside of Montréal. It's all licensed by the sovereign tribe of the Mohawk nation, which has no experience in casino gambling and doesn't have to answer to Canadian authorities.

The grand chief is Mike Delisle.

Chief Delisle says Internet gambling is illegal in Canada, but tells Kroft, "We're not Canadians. We're a member of the Haudenosaunee Five Nation Confederacy. And we're Mohawk Kahnawake people. We're not Canadian."

And that legal distinction has allowed the Kahnawakes to rake in millions of dollars a year by licensing Internet gaming sites and housing their computer servers on the reservation. They now register and service more than 60 percent of the world's Internet gaming activity from a highly protected and non-descript building that used to be a mattress factory.
That former mattress factory, essentially the world's Internet counting room, looks a lot like one of those space metal buildings that used to be so popular in the 70's. What it certainly isn't is an eternally glowing tower of glass, surrounded by an epic parking lot crammed with idling exhaust-belching tour buses, attached to the rest of the world by a gargantuan concrete off-ramp hovering over raised ranches and three bedroom colonials.

And voila! There you have it - the Mohawk Kahnawake have established the very definition of low-overhead/high return within the gambling community.

But wait, it gets better...
The operation is overseen by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, whose three commissioners meet in secret.
The 60 minutes story, which you can see in it's entirely here,

centers on the biggest cheating scandal within the on-line industry - which resulted in no negative repercussions for the Tribe. Of course.

Now, for the record, I oppose Internet gambling. It's extremely predatory and especially so for underage players and their families. But I also oppose brick and mortar casinos in the State of Massachusetts. And I utterly oppose the Masphee Wampanoag Tribe's application to take land into trust in the residential town of Middleboro for the purpose of building one of the world's biggest casinos.

But then, I've never understood why a Tribe of about a 1,500 people truly "need" to introduce additional crime, addiction, child abuse and neglect, domestic abuse, suicides, bankruptcies, foreclosures, lower property values, environmental destruction, traffic, pollution and a host of other quality-of-life-altering impacts to a community they don't even live in for the purpose of attaining excessive personal wealth.

The Mashpee Tribe already receives a host of Federal and State compensation simply for being recognized. And it's not as if the Tribe desperately needs housing or a hospital or a school, like they do in some of the larger, more remote Indian tribes.

It's just that some of their members, their tribal leadership and a few (already rich) investors just can't get enough. And I'm pretty sure that doesn't fall under good old IGRA section 25 C.F.R. & 15 l.l0(b).

Besides, as you an see, they've never needed a casino, nor the land in Middleboro, to get rich.

The Tribe could save themselves a lot of grief by abandoning their almost certainly doomed, highly unusual two-part initial reservation application and sticking with the land in Mashpee. With land in trust there, they could quickly erect a space-metal building and use their high-placed connections within the gambling industry to establish their own sovereign server farm, out of reach of the law.

Doing this wouldn't violate any agreement they have with the town of Mashpee, because it wouldn't be a casino. And heck, it's still be tax exempt! Besides - they can't have all that perfectly good money just crossing the border into Connecticut Canada. And just think how perfectly suited Glenn Marshall and Sean Hendricks are to an organization which holds secret meetings and faces no regulation or legal repercussions. Furthermore, we all know how reluctant the Tribe is to travel beyond Mashpee - well now they'd never have to leave!

Imagine it, Glenn - no arguments with the Governor about compacts! No bureacratic flies in the ointment with the legistlature over class III gaming. No headaches from Mass Highway. No NEPA! No more Scott Ferson or high-priced lobbyists! No more marshmellow roasts with the same fawning sycopants in Middleboro! And best of all - never another minute with Adam Bond.

And for the rest of us - NO CASINO! No problems we didn't ask for. No inadequate mitigation for problems we didn't ask for.

Of course, there won't be any of those lucrative union jobs you promised - but then the lawyers cleverly left any provision for hiring unions out of the agreement, didn't they, so nothing lost, nothing gained.

Tragically, an isolated Mashpee server farm wouldn't line the pockets of, oh say, locally-based limo drivers. However, I'm certain that they'd be selflessly willing to forgo any potential wealth in the best interests of the Tribe.

Of course the elderly would still have to endure all that unhealthy social contact during 2 hour bus treks to Foxwoods.

And Middleboro will have to manage without the extra fire trucks.

But, as you can plainly see, the Mohawks have proven that a Tribe can make a killing without building a casino - while the Mashpee have only proven that they need a casino to make a killing.


Carl said...

EEE GADS, GLADYS! Don't give tham any ideas, not that they would take any advise from the likes of us anti-casino folks. Their $$$ backers surely wouldn't want them to do it, which is a good thing. So, I guess it is too late for the Mashpee. It is a Bingo Hall or bust right now. And, it will be a bust. They have no "proof" to submit.

carverchick said...

What an interesting concept you have laid out here Gladys. I certainly don't agree with it, but if I had to choose between a small inconspicuous metal building holding a bunch of servers or a mega casino resort right next door, I guess I would have to go for that small building. But then, limo drivers would be crying on topix about lost revenue they never had to begin with, unions would be crying over lost jobs they were never promised to begin with and Middleboro wouldn't be stuck footing the bill for an ambulance service. Gosh, and let's not forget about all that entertainment that will be lost...all those wonderful restaurants serving crappy buffet style food, high end stores selling all that junk that people can't afford to buy, and Neil Diamond? I guess he will just have to play at one of those Connecticut casinos....or Fenway.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Well, CC, if you're a Tribe hellbent on dependence on an industry that's so inherently bad that's it's been highly regulated for good reason, and you don't really care about the people you'll hurt on your way to wealth, well, you've got to admit that a space metal server farm is the cheaper, greener and more hassle-free alternative.

But say you were a creative, forward-looking tribe that wanted to create REAL and POSITIVE change while economically enriching you and your people - you'd be looking to the future and not reaching into the past for an industry to hang your hopes on.

Indian tribes don't need casinos. Nobody does.

Anonymous said...

I met someone who was hooked BIG TIME on internet gambling.
It's worse than anything because you're in your own home with that false sense of security.
BTW, love the logo!
So 19 months? Didn't Scotty promise a casino within 18 months? Those construction delays are a b....! Happy 19th Month, Scott! It's just sooooo inevitable!

Anonymous said...

OK, at the risk of sounding racist and anti-Native American, or anti-Wampanoag, let me ask this. While the Western Native American tribes were being forced onto reservations, where were the Wampanoags? The western tribes were being forced off their land and onto reservations in the 1860s-1890s. By that time the Wampanoags were assimilated into the white culture here in Massachusetts. Many Wampanoags were serving on whaling ships during that time or working at other trades. They were not forced onto reservations and forced to endure hardship at the hands of the U.S. Government.
How many Wampanoags today are living in poverty, like their western counterparts on reservations in Oklahoma, Arizona, or North and South Dakota? I contend the standard of living of most Wampanoags is probably much better than their fellow Native Americans in other parts of our country. With that said, why on earth do they feel the need for a casino? Do they really need a casino or are they being used as pawns to justify an end to the means for wealthy casino developers?
Native American philosophy always says, do not take more from the land than what you need. My question for the Wampanoags is, do you already have what you need in life? What happiness will a casino bring into your life at the expense of the happiness of others?