SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 13, 2013

Mass. tribe says feds approve limited gambling

BOSTON — A Martha’s Vineyard-based Indian tribe said yesterday it had gained federal approval to build a gambling facility on the island, though the state of Massachusetts has long contended that the tribe gave up its gaming rights in a land settlement.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, a federally recognized tribe, issued a statement saying it planned to move ahead with converting an unfinished community center on tribal lands into a temporary Class II gambling facility. Such a facility could offer high-stakes electronic bingo or poker games and some types of slot machines, but not casino-style table games.

The tribe cited a legal opinion, dated Oct. 25, from Eric Shepard, the acting general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission. In the letter, Shepard said the tribe’s lands on Martha’s Vineyard qualify for limited gambling under the federal law that governs tribal gaming and that the Aquinnah have sufficient legal jurisdiction over the lands.

“The Tribe has consistently asserted that we have the right to game on our lands in Aquinnah,” said Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, tribal chairwoman, in a written statement. “These approvals affirm our position. We are thrilled!”

Shepard did not return a message seeking comment.

Martha’s Vineyard, an island just south of Cape Cod that is accessible by ferry, is a popular summer tourist destination. President Barack Obama and his family have vacationed several times on the island, as did President Bill Clinton when he was in office.

The tribe also said it would ask Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration to begin negotiations on a state compact that would allow the tribe to someday open a much larger Class III resort casino, either on the island or on lands taken into trust on the mainland. The state has refused to enter into such talks in the past, contending that the Aquinnah ceded gaming rights in a 1983 settlement that secured tribal lands.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • Buczko Legislature approves naming Salem Probate Court after Judge Thaddeus Buczko

    BOSTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to designate the Essex Probate and Family Court, located in Salem, in honor of Judge Thaddeus Buczko.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Chism attorney wants 'youthful offender' indictments dismissed

    Philip Chism's attorney will argue that the state's "youthful offender" law, which requires that the Danvers teen be tried as an adult in last fall's rape and murder of his teacher, is unconstitutional.
    In documents filed Monday, defense attorney Denise Regan contends that the statute, enacted in 1996, creates two classes of children within the court system, distinguishing them based solely on the charge.

    July 29, 2014

  • Whale watching boat snagged by lobster trap rope

    BOSTON (AP) — They weren't castaways, but like the tourists on Gilligan's Island, a group of whale watchers expecting only a three-hour tour got much more after their boat was snagged by a lobster trap rope off Massachusetts and they were forced to spend a long night at sea.

    July 29, 2014

  • Market Basket store managers vow to resign

    Store managers and assistant managers at Market Baskets in the area signed petitions Monday declaring they would work only for Arthur T. Demoulas, no matter who buys the grocery chain. "It was a voluntary petition," Salem store manager Dave Webber sa

    July 29, 2014 1 Story