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Column: Governor wrong on Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe casino

Filed Under: Litigation | Opinion
More on: deval patrick, massachusetts, wampanoag
Columnist wonders why Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), a supporter of gaming, is trying to stop the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe from opening a casino:
Confused? You should be.

The Patrick administration is trying to block the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah from opening a small casino on tribal land on the western edge of Martha’s Vineyard. This isn’t a “position on the substance,” Patrick told the Globe. “It’s a position on what the law provides.”

In a suit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley on Patrick’s behalf, the state argues that the Aquinnah tribe gave up its federal casino rights through a 1983 settlement that gave it more than 400 acres of land in exchange for its agreement that the land would remain subject to Massachusetts “laws and jurisdiction.” After giving up those rights, the state argues, the Aquinnah now fall under the jurisdiction of the state’s expanded gambling law of 2011, which requires casino developers to win a license from the state.

The tribe, however, contends that it couldn’t give away rights it didn’t have until 1988, when Congress approved a federal law that gives recognized tribes the right to host some forms of gambling without a state license. Two federal agencies recently sided with the Aquinnah, giving the tribe the go-ahead to immediately open a modest gambling facility, which would offer games such as bingo, poker, and slot machines.

Get the Story:
Joan Vennochi: Deval Patrick’s casino confusion (The Boston Globe 12/5)

Relevant Documents:
Solicitor Letter to Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (August 23, 2013)
NIGC Letter to Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (October 25, 2013)
Press Release: GSB Client Aquinnah Wampanoag to be First to Game in Massachusetts (November 12, 2013)

Related Stories:
New leader of Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe vows casino defense (12/4)

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