Genting Malaysia Bhd (GenM) said in a statement this week that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has appointed them as manager of First Light Resort & Casino which is scheduled to break ground in Taunton, Massachusetts Tuesday, April 5th. The management deal is pending approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission and expected to last seven years commencing on opening day of the resort to be located about an hour south of Boston.
Genting has no equity interest in the property but has so far invested about $250 million in promissory notes issued by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority for use in early development of the project.
In a statement Genting said, “The investment in notes allows the group to enhance the returns expected from its involvement in the project,” according to the announcement.
Current plans call for a phased development scheme culminating in a 900 room luxury hotel complex including 15,000 square feet of convention space, a family oriented hotel including an indoor/outdoor water park, retail destinations, multiple food outlets, and a casino with 150,000 sq ft of gaming space featuring a 40 table poker room, 150 table games, and 3,000 slot machines.
Current Genting properties servicing the US market include Resorts World New York City, Resorts World Bimini, and the under construction Resorts World Las Vegas. Genting said that their expansion into Massachusetts would complement their other US endeavors and further establish their presence in the market.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe signed a tribal/state compact with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 19, 2013 and were approved by the Bureau of Indian Affair in early 2014. On January 8, 2015 the land the resort will be built on was officially granted reservation status. Although no legal challenges to the tribe’s right to establish a casino had been filed at that time, opponents financed in part by a competing casino interest have since filed suit.