New renderings of a planned tribal casino by the Mashpee Wampanoag show a sparkling curved hotel tower, as part of an updated design to the tribe’s gambling resort proposal for Taunton.
“There’s a lot of engineering, there’s a lot of traffic mitigation involved in that design, there’s a lot of environmental mitigation,” said Cedric Cromwell, the Mashpee Wampanoag chairman, in an interview. “When you look at that architectural rendering, it speaks to many different fronts.”
The new renderings come the week the state gambling commission is expected to discuss a schedule for accepting and reviewing bids from commercial casino companies in Southeastern Massachusetts, a move the tribe has bitterly opposed. The commission is scheduled to discuss the application process on Thursday.
The southeast has been off-limits to commercial casino developers since the state legalized Las Vegas-style gambling in 2011. Language in the casino law delayed commercial bidding in the region to give the Mashpee time to make progress on a tribal casino, which would be approved under a federal process separate from the state’s casino competition.
But the tribe faces legal challenges to getting the land for the proposed casino placed into trust by the federal government, a requirement for the property to host tribal gambling. Cromwell said the tribe is making great progress, but skeptics insist the Mashpee could be years away from getting eligible land.
Unable to be sure when, or if, the tribe will be successful, the state gambling commission in April voted to lift the freeze on commercial casino applications in the southeast. The panel is not expected to consider awarding a license for the region until well into 2014, and if the tribe shows progress over the next year, the commission is not obligated to issue the commerical license.