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Brockton casino bid faces crucial vote this week

The state’s Gaming Commission will likely vote on a proposed Brockton casino Thursday or Friday. handout

The state’s Gaming Commission will begin its public review of a proposed Brockton casino Tuesday, with a vote expected later in the week.

The developer of the massive casino-and-hotel complex off Route 123, Mass Gaming & Entertainment, and Brockton officials have billed the project as a sorely needed economic catalyst for the city. The plan faces competition from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which recently broke ground on a $1 billion casino on reservation land in Taunton.

The five-member Gaming Commission is slated to review scores of comments it has received on the project, both in writing and at previous public hearings. The commission will likely vote Thursday or Friday.

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Last week, a group of state legislators urged the commission to deny the Brockton plan, saying it would clear the way for a tax-exempt tribal casino in Taunton and reduce the state’s collection of gambling taxes. The tribe does not need the state’s permission for the casino and will not pay state taxes unless it receives exclusive rights in the region. The two proposed casinos are just 20 miles apart.

But Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter said recent marketing studies show the state will maximize tax revenue by approving the Brockton casino, with or without its Taunton rival.

“The facts show that the Commonwealth stands to do better with a Brockton casino than without it,” Carpenter said a letter to the commission.

Carpenter has billed the $677 million Brockton plan as a safer bet to open quickly, noting that the Taunton plan faces a lawsuit claiming that federal government improperly designated the casino site as an Indian reservation.

“While other casino projects throughout the state face delays, a Brockton project could be the first one up and running and generating revenue for the Commonwealth,” Carpenter wrote.

The legislators who called on the commission to reject the Brockton casino represent districts in the immediate vicinity of Plainridge Park Casino, the state’s first casino. The lawmakers said the casino should only be approved if research “conclusively demonstrates that a tax-free casino in Taunton does not negatively impact total Commonwealth tax collections.”

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The Plainville slot parlor, which is taxed at 49 percent of gambling revenue, would lose significant business if the Brockton and Taunton casinos both open.


Sean P. Murphy can be reached at smurphy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @spmurphyboston.