Surveying Indian Country

In Massachusetts, the disputed Aquinnah Wampanoag casino is “on” again, following a federal appeals court’s reversal of a lower court ruling that nixed the project. The appellate court found that, in the words of The Associated Press, “the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe exercises sufficient government powers on its lands to be considered a sovereign tribal nation that can conduct limited gambling under federal law without seeking local approvals.” There was no immediate response from Martha’s Vineyard or from state Attorney General Maura Healey, as both retreated to lick their wounds ponder their options.

The proposed Aquinnah casino would forego table games in favor of 300 VLTs — if the tribe can get out of a 1983 pact in which it signed away its right to conduct gambling. The majority of the tribe lives on the mainland and hopes its social welfare will be improved by the $4.5 million a year the casino is projected to generate. As for the Mashpee Wampanoag and their First Light casino project in Taunton, it continues to languish in the turnover between the Obama and Trump administrations.

* No wonder Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino are desperate to build a satellite casino in East Windsor: If you look at the glass as half-full, they grossed $1.6 billion last year. Glass half-empty: It was the ninth consecutive year of declines in gambling win. Non-casino revenues are increasing, but not at a pace sufficient to offset the gaming slump.

* Florida legislators might want to get their act together and work out a new compact with the Seminole Tribe. While tribal gaming revenues grew at a 5.5% clip last year, Seminole ones rose at a 9% clip. Lawmakers want the Seminoles to pay more for the privilege of offering the same games they have now — but taking a percentage of a growing market would seem to accomplish much the same goal.

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