Tribe announces gambling partner

Aquinnah will team with Global Gaming Solutions.

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Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), says the tribe has a gambling partner.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) is partnering with another tribe to build a gambling facility on the Island.

In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, the tribe said it has reached an agreement with Global Gaming Solutions, which is part of the Chickasaw nation. The deal was approved at the tribe’s general membership meeting on Sunday, the release states.

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, the tribe’s chairwoman, could not immediately be reached for comment. She did issue a prepared statement: “We are beyond pleased that the right of the Aquinnah Wampanoag to conduct gaming on our tribal lands has been unequivocally affirmed by both the federal appeals court and Supreme Court of the United States,” she said. “Now we look forward to partnering with another tribe to bring economic development to Aquinnah and Martha’s Vineyard. The Chickasaw Nation’s success speaks for itself and we are honored to be in partnership with them.”

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case between the tribe and the state, clearing the way for the tribe to seek a Class II facility under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Under that law, a tribe is allowed to offer gambling on reservation lands in states where such gambling is permitted. The town and a taxpayer’s group were also parties to the suit against the tribe.

Things have been quiet since the nation’s highest court decided not to take the case. Larry Hohlt, who has spoken on behalf of the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association, declined to comment. Town leaders could not be immediately reached for comment.

Martha’s Vineyard Commission chairman Jim Vercruysse, an Aquinnah resident, declined to weigh in on the tribe’s new partner. “I can’t really comment on that because it might come before us as a DRI (development of regional impact),” he said.

Elaine Driscoll, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, said she was unaware of the partnership. “I’m unaware of any contact with the commission,” she said.

Of course, the tribe doesn’t need to work with the commission on a Class II facility, which would use bingo-style slots that have the look and feel of other slot machines. They would have to enter into a tribal-state compact in order to offer Las Vegas–style gambling.

The tribe did attempt to negotiate a compact with then-Gov. Deval Patrick, but he rejected their overtures because of the land agreement the tribe reached with the state in 1987. That agreement became the subject of a protracted legal battle that ended with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case.

Global Gaming Solutions has operated or opened more than 30 casinos and placed or managed more than 50,000 electronic games, the release states.

Global Gaming Solutions (GGS) has worked with many major casinos, racetracks, and other entertainment operations. They assumed operation of Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Okla., and have invested nearly $15 million into the racetrack and casino, according to the GGS website.

In 2012, Remington Park set an all-time annual attendance record when it surpassed 2 million visitors, according to the website. GGS also operates Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Officials from Global Gaming Solutions could not be immediately reached for comment.

“Developing gaming and entertainment operations that further the economic development goals of Native American tribes is central to our business charter,” Skip Seeley, chief executive officer of Global Gaming Solutions, said in the press release. “We are excited to partner with the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe as they launch this project to support the local economy in Martha’s Vineyard and create opportunities for their tribal citizens.”

“As the People of the First Light, we are the stewards of our lands, and we’re dedicated to preserving the atmosphere and beauty of the Island,” Andrews-Maltais said, according to the release. “Any gaming facility we operate will blend in with the rest of the Island, and the Tribe will work with local businesses to create a positive economic impact for our neighbors in the larger Island community.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. A gaming facility “will blend in with the rest of the Island”? Good grief, that is one profoundly delusional statement. A gambling operation would blend in about as well as a Walmart. I guess the last remaining hope is that the MVC will bury this casino nonsense after deliberating the *regional impact*.

    • As long as it is situated next to the new restaurant “McDonald’s On The Cliffs” and yet far enough away from the Adult Movie Theatre, it should blend in nicely. But the noise and the vibration from the new Aquinnah Helicopter Pad just may throw off the Video Poker games. The plans for the new Water Park with the Ultra Hi-Water Slide is still happening, isn’t it?

    • A casino would create many jobs in an area where they are sorely needed, and bring a lot of cash to the island. Spin off business would arise. The liberals would have a place to spend all their idle cash.

  2. It would also mean droves of tour buses with people coming to lose their $$. The infrastructure of the island will need to change to accommodate this – roads to the casino from the ports, bus parking, more liquor licenses. One just has to experience the traffic and crowd that hits the casinos in the midwest or even in Ct. to get an idea of the impact that these establishments have on communities. Yes, the casino will hire people but at what cost to the island? I can’t imagine that anything besides greed is driving this decision.

  3. Sounds kind of dumb for me. Do the Casino in an area that people can afford to travel to. MVY is hardly the right place for economic and other reasons.

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