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Middleborough looks for more in deal with Wampanoags 7-07

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Middleborough officials, under fire from
some residents who say a tentative deal that would bring millions of
dollars to the town if the Mashpee Wampanoags build a casino is not
enough, are now planning on demanding much more from the tribe.

The revised agreement circulating among town leaders and reviewed by
The Boston Globe, would seek upfront payments of at least $250
million for infrastructure improvements as well as a percentage of
the casino's annual slot machine revenues.

The town has been offered up to $150 million for road, water and
sewer upgrades and $7 million annually for 10 years.

A cut of the slot revenue as low as 1 or 2 percent could add up to
much more than the flat $7 million offer, especially if the tribe
follows through on plans to add thousands of slot machines in the
first years of operation. Casino slot revenue of $1 billion annually
could mean between $10 million and $20 million per year for the town.

That would be on top of the 25 percent of slot revenue the state is
likely to demand.

Tribal leaders have not been sent the new proposal yet, but a Mashpee
Wampanoag spokesman has said that the first offer is not subject to
negotiation.

In another casino development, a gambling tycoon who grew up in
Boston recently had a meeting with an official from Gov. Deval
Patrick's administration, according to the Boston Herald. Sheldon
Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., met with
Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Dan O'Connell,
spokeswoman Kofi Jones said.

"He came in and offered his ideas on how the commonwealth could
benefit from expanded gambling," Jones said. "He addressed some of
the economic impacts associated with the gaming industry. We met with
him as we have met with people on all sides of the issue and continue
to."

Middleborough's revised proposal was drafted by two lawyers hired by
the town specifically to deal with casino issues, including Dennis
Whittlesey of Washington D.C.

In exchange for financial considerations, the town would support the
tribe in getting state and federal approval for a casino.

The 36-page revised agreement would help the town of 20,000 residents
40 miles south of Boston deal with financial problems, including a $4
million deficit in the town's $64 million budget.

Clyde Barrow, a casino researcher at the University of
Massachusetts-Dartmouth, called the original agreement "a bad deal
for Middleborough, its residents, and the town's future tax base."

The revised proposal calls for $172 million for road improvements;
$26 million for electrical upgrades; $10 million in gas system
expansion; $22.5 million for water service and satellite wells; $26.3
million for wastewater system improvements; and $8 million to $10
million for a new police station.

The town also wants the tribe underwrite the cost of a new police
cruiser, two new ambulances, four additional police officers, and
additional staff for other town departments.

The tribe would also be required to compensate abutters who can prove
the casino has lowered property values and contribute to a gambling
addiction treatment facility.

The tribe has already purchased 125 acres of town land, have an
option to buy another 200 contiguous acres and have approached
another land owner about a 200-acre abutting tract.

The Mashpee Wampanoags are also considering New Bedford as a possible
site for a resort casino.
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