Asian casino operator, Genting Malaysia Berhad, has reportedly announced that it is ‘currently deliberating the appropriate course of action’ regarding the around $426.3 million it is owed by Massachusetts’ Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
Debt tied to promissory notes:
According to a Monday report from GGRAsia, the cash represents the principle and accrued interest connected to the about $250 million in promissory notes the Kuala Lumpur-listed firm gave the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in March of 2016 after inking a management deal that would have seen it run the tribe’s planned First Light Resort and Casino.
Taunton casino plan runs afoul of local opposition:
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which won federal recognition in 2007 following a 32-year struggle, had originally hoped to open its First Light Resort and Casino near the small Massachusetts city of Taunton in the summer of 2017 complete with some 1,900 slots and 60 gaming tables. But, the project soon ran into difficulties after a group of local residents initiated a legal action against the 2015 land-into-trust decision that had given the tribe a 320-acre reservation that was to be exempt from local gaming laws.
Federal authorities reverse original grant:
Following several rounds of litigation, the issue reportedly came to a head on September 7 when the United States Department of the Interior reversed its original decision by concluding that the tribe did not satisfy relevant conditions under the Indian Reorganization Act and, as such, was not eligible to have land placed into trust for the purposes of building a casino resort.
Project remains ‘stalled’:
In its Friday filing, Genting Malaysia Berhad described the entire project as ‘stalled’ before explaining that the future of the envisioned First Light Resort and Casino now depends on federal legislators passing an under-consideration measure that would grant a reservation to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
Genting Malaysia Berhad’s filing read…
“The group is currently deliberating the appropriate course of action by working closely with the [Mashpee Wampanoag] Tribe to review all options available for the group’s investment in the promissory notes as well as its recoverability. This includes legislation being introduced in the United States Congress which, if passed, will entail the United States Department of the Interior to reaffirm the land in trust for the benefit of the [Mashpee Wampanoag] Tribe.”