Mass. Tribe Takes 'Step Forward' in Casino Bid

Feb 12, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — A Native American tribe hoping to develop a resort casino in southeastern Massachusetts has received a favorable opinion on their land bid from the federal government.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe announced Tuesday that the Office of Indian Gaming, in a preliminary advisory opinion, said the land where the casino has been proposed in Taunton qualifies as an "initial reservation," as does land in Mashpee, where the tribe is headquartered.

Tribal chairman Cedric Cromwell called the decision a "huge step forward" in the Mashpee's casino bid. But the tribe still needs final approval from the U.S. Department of Interior to put the land into trust, and must cross other hurdles before a casino can be built.

The tribe has claimed that it has strong historical ties to the land in Taunton, about 40 miles from Mashpee.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.