Maybe I am missing something here...but if I understand the premise for the commercial agreement with the Tribe, it is to protect the citizens of Massachusetts. If that is so, then doesn't a compact do that better than a commercial agreement.
Think of it this way. The State negotiates a commercial agreement with the Tribe that limits certain sovereignty issues (e.g., personal injury claims being subject to AAA arbitration or State Court jurisdiction with no limits on liability), as well as a 25% - 27% cut from gaming revenues. This deal would then mean that the Tribe is subject to State regulation.
If both parties agree to a set up like this, then why not just do a compact with the same terms. A compact would mean that the Tribe would then be subject to regulation by each of the State, the NIGC and the Tribe. Isn't more regulation a better protector of the citizens? Isn't a commercial agreement ONLY subject to State regulation--and we all know how good the State is at that.
It almost seems that the only reason for the State to go the commercial route has nothing to do with regulation and protection, and more to do with the initial fee/bidding process. In fact, the commercial route actually seems to leave the citizens more exposed without the experienced NIGC being involved. It also seems to leave the Tribe more exposed to potential exploitation by the developers, since there are no limits on how long the developers can remain involved in the project, as there are under the federal rules.
Like I said...I may be missing something, but it seems that if a commercial agreement can be reached, the State should call it a compact and get the additional regulatory help...for our sakes.