Martha’s Vineyard tribe seeks Massachusetts gaming licence

The Wampanoag Tribe has made an official request to enter into formal negotiations.
The Wampanoag Tribe has made an official request to enter into formal negotiations.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has petitioned Governor Charlie Baker to enter into formal negotiations for a Class III gaming compact.

US.- The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from Martha’s Vineyard has petitioned Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker to enter into formal negotiations for a full gaming licence, including mobile sports betting.

In a letter, tribal chairwoman Cheryl Andrews Maltais said she was making an “official request to enter into formal gaming negotiations with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” as prescribed by the Indian Gaming Rights Act (IGRA). IGRA provides that a tribe that wants to conduct Class III gaming must first enter into a state-tribal compact.

The document became public on Monday (November 22) at a meeting of the Aquinnah Town Council. The council opposes the tribe’s gaming ambitions on Martha’s Vineyard and had requested a copy of the letter from the governor’s office.

Maltais said the tribe is seeking not only to negotiate for a Class III gaming licence under the state law that awarded a licence to the Mashpee Wampanoag, but also for the right to conduct statewide mobile sports betting if a bill under consideration in the state legislature is enacted.

“The tribe looks forward to frank and successful negotiations to establish a regulatory framework for Class III gaming,” her letter concluded.

The tribe has been trying for several years to build a Class II gaming facility, the Aquinnah Cliffs Casino, featuring electronic bingo and poker. It would be located on Martha’s Vineyard but has faced protracted legal challenges from local officials and residents’ groups.

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Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head