Casino Stalker | Compacts
Massachusetts governor to discuss compact with one tribe

H.3702, the Massachusetts gaming law, authorizes Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to enter into Class III gaming compact negotiations with "a federally recognized tribe."

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe meet that definition. But while both tribes have requested to negotiate, Patrick so far has only agreed to meet with the Mashpees, who have identified a host community and a casino site in Taunton.

"This is one more major step forward in developing a destination resort that will bring thousands of jobs, millions in revenue and increased economic development opportunities to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the city of Taunton, and all of Southeastern Massachusetts," Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a press release. Taunton has scheduled a casino referendum, as required by the law, on June 9.

The Aquinnahs have asked three communities to schedule a vote but the tribe hasn't identified a specific site in any of the communities and hasn't provided details about a proposed casino. Patrick won't discuss a compact until his office gets more information.

"The letter requests details on a proposed site and host town vote, and we are in the process of responding to the governor," Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais said in a statement, The Cape Cod Times reported.

The Aquinnahs are in a unique situation due to a provision in their land claim settlement act that places the reservation under state law. Some observers believe the settlement bars the tribe from engaging in gaming but the issue hasn't been resolved with finality.

Both tribes also face questions about their ability to follow the land-into-trust process in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The court restricted the process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934.

The Aquinnah gained recognition in 1987. The Mashpees were recognized in 2007.

Get the Story:
State, Mashpee tribe ready to deal (The Cape Cod Times 3/15)
Governor Deval Patrick ready for talks with Mashpee Wampanoag tribe on regulations for tribal casino in Taunton (The Boston Globe 3/15)
Mashpees contact Gov. Patrick to negotiate compact for Taunton casino (The Taunton Daily Gazette 3/15)
Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe disputes state gaming expert's analysis (The Taunton Daily Gazette 3/15)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe rejoins race to casino finish line (The Martha's Vineyard Times 3/15)
Aquinnah greet selectmen, don't announce potential casino location (The Lakeville Gazette 3/15)
Governor asked not to deal with Mashpee tribe (The Lakeville Gazette 3/15)

Related Stories:
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe continues meetings for casino (3/14)
City sets date for election on Mashpee Wampanoag casino (3/14)