Tribal Organization: Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
Aquinnah, MA 02535
For years the Aquinnah tribe has wanted to build a casino on their land on Martha's Vineyard. The federal government approved their application for "Class II" gambling, however the state sued to block it.
In January 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's case against the Aquinnah Tribe. Massachusetts had appealed in an attempt to overturn a lower court's decision in favor of the Aquinnah. That ruling said the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act supersedes the 1987 Massachusetts Settlement Act and allows Class I and Class II gambling on Aquinnah land without state approval.
The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act establishes three classes of gambling:
- Class I Gaming
Defined as "traditional tribal gaming and social gaming" with minimal prizes. This class is controlled exclusively by tribal governments.
- Class II Gaming
Defined as gambling played exclusively against other players and not the house. Examples are bingo, poker, keno, pull-tabs, punchboards, and other "non-banked" card games. It is governed by a tribal ordinance that must meet federal guidelines and be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
- Class III Gaming
Defined as gambling played against the house, sometimes referred to as Vegas-style gambling. Includes slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, and "all forms of gaming that are not class I gaming or class II gaming." Tribes negotiate a gaming compact with the government of the state in which it is located. The compacts insure the gambling complies with state laws.
The tribe's long-term goal has been and continues to be a Class III casino on the state's mainland.
Class II Gaming
Games to be announced
To be announced
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