New Twist in Massachusetts Tribal Gaming Compact

Massachusetts legislators were thrown a curveball just after giving final approval to a tribal gaming compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. The Aquinnah tribe from Martha’s Vineyard announced Tuesday it had federal approval to build a casino on the island.

The Patrick administration has previously rejected attempts by the Aquinnah tribe to gain a foothold in the gambling market. And Governor Patrick says he is  in no mood to change his mind.

“I respect their rights and we have shown that respect. But I also respect the law and the legal opinion that we have is that there is one tribe that we have to negotiate with and we have a done so in good faith,” Patrick says.

The governor previously refused to negotiate with the Aquinnah tribe, saying it had forfeited its tribal gaming rights in exchange for other benefits. The Aquinnah say the administration’s refusal to negotiate is based on a “mistaken belief” about the tribe’s rights.

The State House News Service contributed to this report.