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Tribe Seeks Casino Compact With Mass.

This article is more than 7 years old.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah is stepping up efforts to develop a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

The Martha's Vineyard-based tribe says it has secured options on two attached tracts of lands, one in Freetown and the other in neighboring Lakeville.

Freetown officials have scheduled a May 29 referendum on the proposed casino and the tribe has asked that a vote be set in Lakeville.

The tribe has also asked Gov. Deval Patrick to open talks on a casino compact. The new state gaming law gives a federally-recognized tribe first crack at a casino license in the southeastern region if a compact is signed by July 31.

The state's only other federally-recognized tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoags, has proposed a casino in Taunton, and has also moved to open talks with Patrick on a compact. A June 9 referendum has been scheduled in the city.

The state has questioned whether the Aquinnah ceded their right to tribal gaming in a land settlement in the 1980s. But tribal leaders have disputed that and there is a chance the matter could wind up in court.

A tribe would also have to secure a land trust from the federal government before it could go forward with developing a casino.

This program aired on March 30, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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