Legislation | Litigation
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe seeks to intervene in gaming suit

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe is seeking to join a lawsuit that challenges H.3702, the Massachusetts gaming law.

The law reserves a casino in southeastern Massachusetts for "a federally recognized tribe." But state officials have locked the Aquinnah out of the process.

"These are big issues, whether states can provide advantages to tribes," John Duffy, the tribe's attorney, told The Cape Cod Times. "We ought to be in there, and we ought to have our say."

The lawsuit was filed by K.G. Urban Enterprises, a non-Indian company. It claims the tribal set aside in the law violates the U.S. Constitution because it is "race based."

A judge dismissed the lawsuit but the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals revived it last month. Among the issues being raised is whether the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar will prevent the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe from opening a casino.

The Mashpees do not have any trust land. The Aquinnah, on the other hand, do.

"As the only tribe with existing trust lands in the commonwealth, Aquinnah's eligibility to game on those lands is directly at issue," the tribe says in a motion to intervene, the Times reported.

Get the Story:
Aquinnah seek to intervene in casino suit (The Cape Cod Times 9/8)
Aquinnah file lawsuit to intervene in casino permit (The Fall River Herald News 9/8)

1st Circuit Decision:
KG Urban Enterprises v. Patrick (August 2, 2012)

District Court Decision:
KG Urban Enterprises v. Patrick (February 16, 2012)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Decision reveals flaws in Massachusetts' gaming law (8/6)