The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has vowed to go to federal court if necessary to win the right to build a casino, after Gov. Deval Patrick rebuffed the tribe’s attempt to come to the negotiating table last week.

Claiming the state has the right to regulate gambling on Indian lands, an attorney for the governor wrote in a letter that the Vineyard tribe waived its sovereignty more than 20 years ago when it signed a settlement agreement. But the tribe contends that federal Indian gaming law trumps state law.

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais Andrews-Maltais

As the scramble to reach first in casino gambling continues in Massachusetts, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) caused a small stir when it announced last week that the tribe is considering some kind of casino operation on the Vineyard.

cheryl andrews-maltais

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has announced that the tribe is considering bringing gaming to the Island, according to a new Web site published by the tribe’s gaming corporation this week.

“The tribe currently holds land in trust on Martha’s Vineyard for economic development and we would consider that option,” the Web site states. “There is no legal impediment for us to open a casino on our trust land. Martha’s Vineyard is a very popular tourist destination that could certainly support a smaller-scale casino.”

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has designated three areas in southeastern Massachusetts for potential casino sites and scheduled referendum votes in two of those locations, inching closer to being eligible for a state gaming license.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has jumped into the casino game again and is requesting a referendum vote from the city of Fall River to operate a gaming facility there.

Fall River mayor William A. Flanagan said he received a request from the tribe’s chairman, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, on Monday for a vote within the next 90 days.

Ms. Andrews-Maltais indicated plans for the gaming project are well underway, Mr. Flanagan said on Tuesday.


Wampanoag conference

BOSTON — The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) publicly stepped back into the casino game this week, as tribal leaders formally announced that they have formed a business partnership with Seneca Nation, an upstate New York tribe that owns and operates three successful casinos.

Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal chairman Donald Widdiss announced the partnership at a press conference at the Omni Parker House in Boston late Wednesday morning, although news of the partnership had been reported in the regional print press early this month.