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Leaf Home arrow The News arrow North East News arrow Island Tribe to move ahead with Class II casino
Island Tribe to move ahead with Class II casino
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 01 March 2014

Island Tribe to move ahead with Class II casino
New leadership to follow plan for bingo & poker on the Vineyard
February 25, 2014

 Vineyard bingo buffs and poker partisans may soon be able to save a boat ride to the Cape and a bus ride to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun to lose their money if the latest development in the local Wampanoag Tribe's effort to establish a Class II casino in Aquinnah is successful.

Last week a new referendum vote by the members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Martha's Vineyard failed to overturn the decision by two votes to prevent the tribe from proceeding with plans for a Class II casino although the town will still have to approve a bylaw change to allow it.

According to a story in the Vineyard Gazette, the new tribal chairman Tobias Vanderhoop told the newspaper, “The outcome of the referendum did not change the previous two actions that had endorsed the proposal of a casino project here. At this point, the previous actions remain enforced and the project will move forward."

A 6,000 square foot Class II Casino cometh

The plans call for the 6,000-square-foot community center on right in Aquinnah to be converted into a Class II gaming facility.

Class II gaming may be conducted by a tribe if it is located within a state that permits such gaming for any purpose by any person, organization or entity and such gaming is not otherwise specifically prohibited on Indian lands by federal law.

Class II gaming is a unique and rather strange gaming classification. It exists only in the U.S. and deals only with Native American gaming. In Class II gaming, players are competing against each other rather than against the house. Before a Class II “slot machine” game can be played, therefore, there must be at least two players who are playing at the same time.

Governor is still in the way

Gov. Deval Patrick has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the proposed gaming facility on Martha's Vineyard.

The governor is asking the Supreme Judicial Court to affirm a 1983 land settlement between the Commonwealth and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head in which the state contends the tribe forfeited its right to tribal gaming on the island.

According to the Aquinnah, Class II gaming is regulated solely by the tribe and the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and includes “a variety of machine games, bingo and poker.” Casino gaming is considered Class III gaming.

Tribe to move ahead with temporary gaming facility

The tribe plans to move ahead with plans to convert an unfinished community center in Aquinnah into a temporary gaming facility, and former Tribal Chairman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais had said its gaming facility would “blend in with the rest of the island” and the tribe would work with local businesses.

Wikepedia states that "Class II gaming is defined as the game of chance commonly known as bingo (whether or not electronic, computer, or other technological aids are used in connection therewith) and, if played in the same location as the bingo, pull tabs, punch board, tip jars, instant bingo, and other games similar to bingo. Class II gaming also includes non-banked card games, that is, games that are played exclusively against other players rather than against the house or a player acting as a bank. The Act specifically excludes slot machines or electronic facsimiles of any game of chance from the definition of class II games".

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