The Aquinnah Wampanoags tribe revealed that the construction of its gambling hall project on the Martha’s Vineyard resort island is set to start in March.
As revealed by the Massachusetts-based Indian tribe, Williams Building Company of Hyannis has been appointed as the project’s general contractor. Global Gaming Solutions, on the other hand, has already been appointed as the developer and consultant for the facility.
The gambling hall is set to be situated at a space of 10,000 square feet on tribal trust lands, with the project including about 250 electronic gaming terminals. As revealed by the tribe, almost 100 employees, both part- and full-time, are expected to be hired when the gambling facility starts operation.
The local Indian tribal nation has proceeded with the project despite the prospect of facing a legal action which was raised at the meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission last week and a few days later issued a press release to confirm that the planned construction of the gambling hall, called Aquinnah Cliffs Casino, is underway.
According to the tribe’s press release, construction works are set to officially start in March 2019 and are expected to be completed in six months.
Wampanoag Tribe Remains Committed to Bringing Positive Economic Impact
Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, who is the Chair of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, explained that the Indian tribal nation remains committed to bringing positive economic development not only to the tribe but also to the Town of Aquinnah and the neighboring regions in the larger Martha’s Vineyard Island community.
Ms. Andrews-Maltais further shared that the construction works and the following operation of the gambling hall would support the local economy and businesses and would create new jobs by bringing “a new and exciting entertainment venue” to the Island.
As mentioned above, the announcement has come only a few days after the Martha’s Vineyard Commission issued a letter to the tribe urging it to work in collaboration with the Commission in order to “preserve and conserve” the Island. As the written in the Commission, Development of Regional Impact has been used for four letters and a half to improve local projects and make sure that the general welfare of the Island and its residents is protected.
The Commission has also urged the tribe to respond to the letter by Monday in order to organize a meeting, but no mention of possible litigation was included in its letter.
The town, state and the Aquinnah Community Association already lost a lengthy legal battle over the gambling facility project, as the US Supreme Court rejected their calls for a hearing in January 2018. The Indian tribe is working under the provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1998, which gives it the right to offer Class II gaming services on tribal trust lands without negotiating a special compact with the state of Massachusetts. A Class III casino, including table games and roulette, would require negotiations with Governor Charlie Baker, as well as monitoring by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.