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Governor cold to casino talk for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) won't comment on a compact negotiation request from the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe.

Patrick supported H.3702, the state's gaming law. But the bill seeks to limit the state to just one Class III gaming compact.

Patrick said he is ready to negotiate with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. He's remaining silent, though, on the Aquinnah request.

The Aquinnahs say they have entered into an agreement to purchase land in Fall River for a casino. The tribe asked the city to schedule a referendum, as required by H.3702.

Like the Mashpees, the Aquinnahs would need to follow the land-into-trust process. The Aquinnahs gained federal recognition in 1987. The Wampanogs were recognized in 2007.

The Aquinnahs also have a land claim settlement that applies state law to its reservation. Some state officials believe the law bars gaming on the tribe's lands although a 1997 opinion from the Bureau of Indian Affairs contradicts that.

Both tribes would need to overcome the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar, which restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934.

Get the Story:
Aquinnah tribe pitches casino to Freetown and Lakeville as well as Fall River (The New Bedford Standard-Times 3/7)
Island tribe shows its hand (The Cape Cod Times 3/7)
Fall River receives request for vote on Aquinnah casino (The Taunton Daily Gazette 3/7)

Related Stories:
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe goes official with casino proposal (3/6)