Martha’s Vineyard Tribe Announces Plans To Open Casino

By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A Martha’s Vineyard-based Indian tribe is claiming to have won federal approval to open a gambling facility on the island.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, a federally-recognized tribe, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it planned to move ahead with plans to convert an unfinished community center on tribal lands into a temporary Class II gambling facility.

“If there’s a compact, then they can do a casino based upon the negotiations in the compact,” Mass. State Senator Stan Rosenberg told WBZ-TV NewsRadio 1030.

Rosenberg said the Aquinnah have renewed their request of the administration to negotiate a compact so that they could do casino gambling on their land.

“Throughout the whole debate about going to casinos in the Commonwealth, it was believe that the Aquinnah would not be able to apply for and receive permission to do gaming,” Rosenberg said. “This week, unanticipated, the state government learned from the tribe that they have been told by a federal agency that they in fact can do gambling.”

Such a facility could offer high stakes electronic bingo or other games, but not casino-style table games.

Aquinnah chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais cited a letter she said the tribe received last month from Eric Shepard, acting general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The tribe has disputed Gov. Deval Patrick’s contention that the Aquinnah gave up their rights to tribal gambling as part of a 1983 land settlement.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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