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BOSTON – While rumors circulate about the Wampanoag tribe’s plans to build a casino in this state, support from legislators for the concept is fading fast.

The tribe sought to build a gaming property in Fall River several years ago but the town voted against the plan. A town official tells GlobeSt.com that he thinks Wampanoag tribe is “currently seeking to locate a casino in Worcester.” The tribe is said to have hired lobbyists to campaign for approval of a casino venture and reportedly is discussing the idea with Massachusetts lawmakers.

But House speaker Thomas M. Finneran has made it clear that he will not support the tribe’s proposal. According to Charles Rasmussen, Finneran’s spokesperson, the speaker is concerned that the revenue stream from the state lottery – which is earmarked for education – will be impacted by the development of a casino. “The towns count on that money and we count on it,” Rasmussen tells GlobeSt.com. “He wouldn’t want to affect that source and it is fairly clear that gambling affects revenue from lottery.”

Rasmussen adds that while tax revenues from the casino might compensate for some lottery losses, it is not clear if the dollar amounts are equivocal. “Because of that confusion, there is no reason to go ahead unless there are many states around us that have casinos. But that is not now the case.” Currently, Connecticut, with the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun resorts, is the only New England state with full casino gambling.

The tribe needs approval from the state – unless it turns to the federal government – to build the casino. Says Rasmussen, “it doesn’t look like they are going to get it now.”

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