Cape Cod’s Mohegan Dream

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, operators of the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, are looking to expand near Cape Cod with plans for a casino in the western part of Massachusetts if commercial gaming is approved.

In July, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority signed an exclusive deal with Northeast Realty Associates LLC, a development company that owns 150 acres of land in Palmer, Mass. The company plans a retail complex that could include retail stores, hotel and residences, and if the state says commercial gaming is A-OK, the tribe could operate a casino on the site, according to the Boston Globe.

There are already some gaming connections to the site as it was optioned for a casino years ago and one of Northeast Realty’s partners is a former gambling company executive.

Northeast Realty joined with Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which wants to develop a multiuse complex on the site, with or without gambling. Northeast Realty is "aggressively pursuing economic development" at the site, according to the group’s lawyer, Frank Fitzgerald.

The city of Middleborough jumped on the Massachusetts gambling bandwagon the last weekend of July when they approved a deal with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe for the state’s first casino, according to the Globe.

Local hotelier Len Wolman and international casino mogul Sol Kerzner are partnering with the Mashpee Wampanoag in Middleborough.

The two previously backed the Mohegan Tribe, that numbered less than 1,000 members, to help it become wealthy with the successful Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn. It opened as a large hall filled with slot machines in 1996, doubling in size in 2002 with a 34-floor hotel, shops, restaurants and arena. Wolman and Kerzner plan to use the Mohegan Sun as their model for the Massachusetts casino.

Sheldon Adelson, who has earned a billion-dollar fortune from developing casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere, is trying to get a piece of the action with a casino along the I-495 rim in the southeastern part of the state.

Before any jackpots can be won, it all has to be run past Daniel O’Connell, the state secretary of economic development. Last month, O’Connell headed a study group that compiled data on gambling including a market analysis by Adelson, and turned it over to Gov. Deval Patrick, according to the Globe.

Members of the development team involved with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority briefed legislators and statehouse casino advocates on their plans during the first week of August.

Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, doesn’t think the possible new casino in Palmer would cause a competition problem with the Mohegan Sun, which is less than 100 miles away.

"We’re always looking at various way to diversify our operations," Etess said.

If commercial gambling in the state and the casino were approved, the casino in Palmer would be subject to state and local taxes since it wouldn’t be on sovereign tribal land, according to the paper.