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Mass. Gov. sues to block Martha's Vineyard casino

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick has filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking the Martha’s Vineyard-based Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe from opening a small casino on the island.

Patrick on Monday filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Judicial Court arguing that the Aquinnah ceded gambling rights in a 1983 settlement that secured tribal lands on the island.

The tribe has disputed that interpretation of the agreement.

Tribal leaders last month said they had gained federal approval to build a gambling facility that could offer high-stakes electronic bingo or poker games and some types of slot machines, but not casino-style table games.

In the lawsuit, the Patrick administration argues the 1983 agreement bars the tribe, just at it would any other entity, from establishing a casino without a gambling license issued under state law.

“Because the Aquinnah Tribe does not have a gaming license issued by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the Tribe may not operate a gaming establishment on its lands,” the lawsuit says.

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