A lighthouse in Aquinnah, Massachusetts, the home of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe. Photo: m01229

Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe moves forward with Class II gaming facility

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe is moving forward with plans for a Class II gaming facility on its reservation in Massachusetts, Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais said.

But Andrews-Maltais told The Vineyard Gazette that the casino won't go into an unfinished community center, as had long been planned. She did not detail the new location.

“We’re determined, slow and steady, but we will finish the race," Andrews-Maltais told the paper.

Andrews-Maltais also confirmed that the tribe remains interested in a casino on the mainland in Massachusetts. The Boston Globe raised that possibility in a report this week, quoting an unidentified source.

“That had always been our long-term goal,” Andrews-Maltais told The Gazette.

The tribe won a historic lawsuit that confirmed its right to engage in gaming on the reservation. Although opponents in Massachusetts tried to overturn the victory, the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the matter on Monday.

“They won the lawsuit on the right to game and congratulations to them and we’ll move on to the next phase," Ron Rappaort, the attorney for the town of Aquinnah, one of the opponents, said at a public meeting on Wednesday, The Martha's Vineyard Times reported.

Heeding a call made by Andrews-Maltais on Monday, the town agreed to engage in talks with the tribe. The town also said it would no longer pursue litigation against the tribe.

The state of Massachusetts has so far refused to come to the table. That limits the tribe's options to Class II games like bingo and electronic versions of bingo.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe Confirms Plans to Build Bingo Hall on Martha's Vineyard (The Vineyard Gazette January 10, 2018)
Town of Aquinnah seeks ‘common ground’ with tribe (The Martha's Vineyard Times January 10, 2018)

1st Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Massachusetts v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) (April 11, 2017)

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