The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe plans to convert an unfinished community center in Aquinnah, Massachusetts, into a gaming facility. Photo courtesy Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
Casino Stalker | Litigation

Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe scores big win in long-running sovereignty case

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe will finally be able to open a gaming facility after the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to a long-running sovereignty dispute.

Without comment, the justices on Monday rejected petitions in Massachusetts v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head and Town of Aquinnah v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head. The move, which came in an order list, lets stand a lower court ruling in favor of the tribe.

The tribe has long been planning to convert an unfinished community center in the town of Aquinnah into a small gaming facility. The building is located on the tribe's reservation in Massachusetts.

As such, it can be used for gaming, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in April 2017. Opponents in Massachusetts tried to get the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling but were unsuccessful.

The tribe plans to offer Class II games like bingo and electronic versions of bingo at the facility. The state, one of the opponents, has refused to come to the table to discuss further gaming options even though it did so with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, whose own project remains in limbo due to unrelated litigation.

Read More on the Story:
Supreme Court says no to hearing M.V. gambling case (The Martha's Vineyard Times January 8, 2017)
U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Hear Casino Case (The Vineyard Gazette January 8, 2017)

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

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