After subscribing to promissory notes issued by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe last year for the purposes of helping the tribe to fund its planned First Light Casino and Resort in Massachusetts, Asian casino giant Genting Malaysia has now reportedly declared that the bill for the federally-recognized band has increased to approximately $347.4 million.
According to a report from The Sun newspaper in Malaysia, the revelation came as part of the Kuala Lumpur-listed firm’s latest annual report and includes accrued interest up to the end of last month.
Genting Malaysia reportedly also explained that the possibility of it recovering the funds in full depends on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe receiving a favorable decision in a lawsuit initiated last year by opponents of the plan to build the $1 billion First Light Casino and Resort near the city of Taunton.
“Given that the lawsuit remains pending and further rulings are expected to be made, construction of the integrated gaming resort has been put on hold pending further court developments and/or actions by the [United States] Department of the Interior or other relevant governmental authorities that will enable the tribe to ultimately proceed with the integrated gaming resort project,” read a statement from Genting Malaysia.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which won federal recognition in 2007 after a 32-year struggle, had originally hoped to open its First Light Resort and Casino this summer offering some 1,900 slots alongside 60 table games. In anticipation, it held a jobs and vendor fair in May of 2016 and explained at the time that the entire project, when finished, could feature up to 3,000 slots and 150 table games as well as a trio of 300-room hotels, a water park and spa, indoor pool, nine retail stores and a 31,000 sq ft multi-purpose function room.
However, February of last year saw a group of local residents initiate a legal action against the 2015 land-into-trust decision from the United States Department of the Interior that had given the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe a 320-acre reservation exempt from local gaming laws. Judge William Young from the United States District Court For The District Of Massachusetts subsequently ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, which brought construction on the First Light Resort and Casino to a halt, while the entire matter has since been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston with a final decision not expected before November.