2013

A federal lawsuit challenging the state’s right to reserve a casino license in southeastern Massachusetts for an Indian tribe will go forward without any involvement from the Vineyard.

In a decision issued yesterday, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton denied attempts by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah Gay Head Community Association to intervene in a case brought by a private casino developer against Gov. Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

A decision by the state gaming commission late last week to open up Southeastern Massachusetts to commercial bidding for casinos will not disrupt casino plans by the Vineyard Wampanoags, the head of the Vineyard tribe said.

“We have been following these events as well . . . . It doesn’t impact us at all,” Cheryl Andrews-Maltais said in an email to the Gazette. Mrs. Andrews Maltais is chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

With the deadline now past to apply for commercial casino licenses in Massachusetts, the chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) said the tribe will not pursue a class three license from the state but will continue to press for a high-stakes bingo hall in Aquinnah.

2012

The attorney for the Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee told a federal judge in Boston Monday that the tribe is in active negotiations with Gov. Deval Patrick over a compact that will allow it to open a casino in Taunton by 2014. Howard M. Cooper said the Mashpee Wampanoags hoped to complete negotiations with state in less than 60 days and submit the proposed agreement to the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs for needed ratification.
With a hearing scheduled in U.S. district court Monday in a complicated lawsuit over casino rights, the town of Aquinnah Tuesday filed a motion to intervene in the case to protect the town’s position that the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) does not have the right to build a gaming facility on the Island.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the first federally recognized American Indian tribe in the commonwealth, is going through a period of significant change as it pursues plans to build a casino in an uncertain economic and regulatory climate.

The hope of building a casino in southeastern Massachusetts has been thwarted by state officials, and a previously announced plan to convert the tribal community center to a bingo hall appears to be stalled.

No application has been filed with the town and the still-unfinished building has no certificate of occupancy permit.

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