In Massachusetts, a federal appeals court has reportedly issued a ruling that temporarily stops the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from establishing a Class II gambling operation on the island of Martha’s Vineyard to give opponents more time to formulate a petition to the United States Supreme Court.

According to a report from the local Vineyard Gazette newspaper, May 10 saw the six-judge United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit refuse to hear an appeal against its April ruling that reversed a lower court decision and gave the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) permission to operate electronic bingo terminals at a 6,500 sq ft community center on the island.

In response to the most recent ruling from the Boston-based appeals court, opponents to bringing Class II gambling to Martha’s Vineyard, which include the island town of Aquinnah along with the state and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association, are reportedly set to petition the United States Supreme Court to hear their case against the federally-recognized tribe.

As the plaintiffs formulate their appeal to the nation’s highest judicial body, Monday saw the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reportedly agree to issue a “stay of mandate” that prevents the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from inaugurating any gambling facilities on Martha’s Vineyard for the subsequent 90 days.

The Vineyard Gazette reported that the “stay of mandate” was issued despite protests from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) that such an action would cause undue delay and “continue to unjustly deprive the tribe of a desperately needed source of government revenue” that could run to as much as $400,000 every month.

In a statement, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Chairman for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), reportedly declared that the tribe had opposed the move “only to correct the record regarding glaring misstatements of fact asserted by the town” and explained that her group remained ready to work with local and state officials to determine the gambling operation’s “potential impacts and positive opportunities for our citizens”.

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