Sunday March 31, 2013

BOSTON (AP) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag (WAHM'-pah-nahg) want to open a Massachusetts-licensed casino in the coming years. Whether it will get that chance depends now on what a state commission believes will happen in the tribe's immediate future.

Lawmakers gave the tribe exclusive rights to southeastern Massachusetts' only casino license. But the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is considering opening the region to other bidders.

The Wampanoag's would-be competitors say the tribe faces so many obstacles it won't open a casino for a decade, if ever.

But the tribe says it's making historic progress and plans to open its $500 million casino in Taunton in 2015.

The commission is being left to decide which timeline will be most accurate. Chairman Steve Crosby says he hopes to make the decision in the coming weeks.