Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe say they aren't concerned about reports of possible casinos opening in other towns.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is "not concerned" about ideas being floated to bring casinos to several other parts of the state, a tribe spokes man said Thursday.
Recent talk of possible casino sites in Marlborough and Palmer will not change the tribe's plans, according to spokesman Scott Ferson. The tribe is, in fact, speeding up its timetable for building the hotel, shops, restaurants and other amenities that will serve casino-goers, Ferson said.
The tribe had previously planned to build the casino gaming center first and then construct the other components in phases over several years.
But Ferson said Thursday the tribe wants to move more quickly and will begin all the construction at the same time. The adjustment of plans has the OK from the investors financing the project, including Trading Cove Associates, Ferson said.
The total project will cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion and will include a golf course and water park, Ferson said.
The tribe hopes to break ground in Middleboro for the project within three years, after receiving needed state and federal approvals. Construction of the complex is expected to take another 12 to 18 months after that, Ferson said.
The tribe isn't worried about news that other developers are interested in bring ing casinos to Massachusetts, he said.
"The only thing they're concerned with is the discussions with the governor," Ferson said.
The tribe hopes to negotiate a compact with Gov. Deval Patrick that might grant the tribe exclusive rights to open a casino in the state, in exchange for some portion of the casino's revenues.
Patrick isn't expected to reveal his position on casinos until early next month. Casinos are currently illegal in Massachusetts.
Patrick could potentially shun the tribe's attempts by either speaking out against all casinos and suggesting they remain illegal, or by supporting the idea of bringing non-Indian casinos to Massachusetts.
State Treasurer Tim Cahill has argued that non-Indian casinos should be sought because they would be taxable by the state.
Kyle Alspach of The Enterprise (Brockton, Mass.) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.