First Light Resort & Casino might have second chance

The United States House of Representatives has passed a bill that recognizes the Mashpee Wampanoag (MW) tribe’s sovereignty over 321 acres of land, including the site marked for MW and Genting Malaysia’s First Light Resort & Casino.

Prospects for the proposed casino in Taunton Massachusetts was thrown into disarray in 2016 due to reservation land issues.

In mid-2017, the future of the casino seemed dire after Mashpee Wampanoag (MW) tribe unexpectedly withdrew its request for Category 1 review, a status which is required for a Native American tribe to hold reservation land in trust.

Genting Malaysia had made an agreement with MW was to manage the First Light Casino & Resort and invested $347.4 million in interest-bearing promissory notes by the tribe in return to run the casino seven years from the opening date.

At the end of 18Q3, Genting Malaysia wrote off the investment in the MW promissory notes after it determined there was little chance for the project to go ahead.

However, on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill H.R.312 – The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act.

The measure will head to the Senate for consideration.

According to analysts from Maybank, if the United States Senate and President Donald Trump do not veto the bill, the MW tribe will be able to build the casino resort and work to repay Genting Malaysia.