Opinion: Make gaming deal with Narragansett Tribe

"Almost 15 years ago I was co-counsel for the Narragansett tribe in its successful quest to the United States Supreme Court to be recognized as a sovereignty subject to federal protection.

Last week, the tribe suffered a reversal of fortune. The Supreme Court ruled that the tribe was not under federal jurisdiction in 1934 when Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934, so their lands could not be placed in federal trust. This decision, no doubt, will set off a fresh round of haggling at Congress, the White House and the United Nations in order for the Indians to regain their status. There's a shortcut, however, to end this torturous relationship between the state and the tribe that is financially feasible and will resolve all the respective parties' contentions. Here's the solution: Turn over Twin River to the tribe and their partners if they match the bid for the property or otherwise settle with Twin River's creditors.

It is clear that the present management of Twin River wants out of Lincoln - or so it seems. No sooner had the organization quashed the effort of the Narragansetts to secure a casino through a statewide referendum, arguing that it would affect the income to the state because of the competition, it turned its sight to form a deal with tribes in Massachusetts to develop a casino there directly in competition with the facility. That move now has the starch taken out of it because the same ruling that gutted the Narragansetts' claim will equally apply to the Mashpee, Wampanoags and other Massachusetts-based tribes. It won't quite be the Easy Street contemplated by the Twin River investors. Staying put might become an attractive alternative after all. Certainly, there is no need for legislators to "rush" a full-fledged casino on the site, since the competition from Massachusetts Indians has flamed out."

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ARLENE VIOLET - It's time for peace with Narragansetts (The Cumberland Valley Breeze 3/4)