Tribe seeks casino compact with Mass.


The Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah is stepping up efforts to develop a casino in southeastern Massachusetts.

The tribe met with Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan on Friday on the potential 230 acre casino site just north of Interstate-195 and Westport.

“This parcel of land is buffered by about 900 acres of undeveloped land, so there’s an awful lot of space,” said Aquinnah Wampanoag chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais. “We have to be mindful of the size and scope and make sure it’s something the community is comfortable with.”

Amilcar DaCruz, whose house abuts the potential site, said he’s worried about what will happen in the coming months.

“Traffic, the value of the houses, they already went down 35 percent,” he said.

Besides Fall River, the Martha’s Vineyard-based tribe says it has secured options on two attached tracts of lands, one in Freetown and the other in neighboring Lakeville.

Freetown officials have scheduled a May 29 referendum on the proposed casino and the tribe has asked that a vote be set in Lakeville.

The tribe has also asked Gov. Deval Patrick to open talks on a casino compact. The new state gaming law gives a federally-recognized tribe first crack at a casino license in the southeastern region if a compact is signed by July 31.

The state’s only other federally-recognized tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoags, have proposed a casino in the city of Taunton.

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