The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to open the southeastern casino region to commercial developers while also providing the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe additional time to pursue the federal approvals necessary.
The 5-to-0 vote on April 18 ends the tribe's exclusive hold on the region.
According to the commission, the final determination to issue a commercial license will consider the totality of economic circumstances, including tribal status, as they exist at the time of the licensing decision. The commission expects to issue such a license late in 2014.
Massachusetts in 2011 passed enabling legislation with an eye on a potential $2 billion take. Officials there carved three districts, with eyes cast on such border markets as Rhode Island and Albany, N.Y.