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Aquinnah Tribe Moves Forward With Off-Island And On-Island Casino Plans

Tribe announced partnership with KMD Consulting and plans to open Class II gaming center in Aquinnah

Two very big announcements came out of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) camp in the race to secure a tribe-run casino. First, the Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation released a statement that they had selected KMD Consulting of California, “as its partner to develop a resort casino in Southeastern Massachusetts.”

KMD is currently working with the Menominee Tribe to develop a casino in Wisconsin and has worked on numerous projects in Las Vegas and California and on deals involving the MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio and more.

The second announcement came after tribal members voted Sunday to use their unfinished community center for Class II gaming.

According to the Martha’s Vineyard Times, the vote came from a motion on the floor at a special general membership meeting. There was no discussion prior to the vote about Class II gaming proposals.

“The vote was 35-27, according to one source who asked not to be identified,” reported the Times.

Class II gaming includes bingo, poker – but only when played against other players, not against the house, pull tabs, punch board, tip jars, instant bingo, and other games similar to bingo including electronic versions that do not require coin slots.

According to the Times, “Unlike class III gaming, which encompasses all types of gaming and requires a tribe-state agreement, tribes may regulate Class II gaming on their own lands without state authority, as long as the state in which the tribe is located permits that type of gaming.”

Just last week we reported that Aquinnah town counsel Ron Rappaport based on the settlement act signed in 1983. However, the tribe maintains that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) supersedes that settlement agreement and has said that they are willing to take the matter to court.

At the same time, the tribe continues to move forward with off-Island casino plans as well. To date, Gov. Deval Patrick’s office has with the tribe for a license to build a casino on .

In the press release issued announcing the securing of their partnership with KMD consulting, the tribe also said that both Freetown and Lakeville have scheduled referendums on the tribe’s casino plan. Freetown’s will take place on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 and Lakeville’s vote will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2012.

“We have assembled an experienced development, public affairs and legal team that will represent the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe well as we move forward in creating a new economic engine for Southeastern Massachusetts,” said Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais in the statement.

The Aquinnah building being proposed for the gaming center is the Aquinnah Community Center that was originally started in 2004 by the nation's citizen soldiers under an agreement that stated that the soldiers would complete 80% of the project and the tribe the remaining 20%. Currently, the 6200 square foot facility remains unfinished.

Martha Magee May 08, 2012 at 03:35 PM
How much of the Community Center has been built? Has 80% been completed? How about a good wholesome Community Center that actually serves the community? Children, elders, everyone? Dance, music, crafts, art classes, support groups, a performance space, gallery, coffee house, after school activities, movies?

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