Mass. Tribal Casino Deal Appears Close, Lawsuit Could Complicate Matters

June 16, 2012 12:00 AM
Mass. Tribal Casino Deal Appears Close, Lawsuit Could Complicate Matters
" BOSTON (AP) — A path to the state’s first tribal casino appears to be clearing faster than expected, but a potential lawsuit from an excluded tribe still threatens to complicate or even delay the process.

The Mashpee Wampanoag moved swiftly to take advantage of a provision in the state’s new gaming law that gives a leg up to a federally recognized Indian tribe in gaining the sole southeastern Massachusetts casino license. The Cape Cod-based tribe acquired an option on land in Taunton, negotiated a host community agreement with city leaders, and on June 9 received a vote of confidence from residents in a nonbinding referendum.

State officials including Gov. Deval Patrick have signaled that a compact is likely to be reached with the Mashpee by the July 31 deadline set in the casino law. And the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs is set to open hearings Wednesday on the tribe’s application to place the Taunton land into federal trust, another crucial requirement.

By contrast, the Wampanoag Aquinnah has hit nothing but roadblocks in its casino quest "

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