United States lawmakers passed on Wednesday a law that reaffirms the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s reservation as trust land in the state of Massachusetts.
Bill 312 in the House of Representatives was approved 276-146 according to the chamber’s website, with 47 Republicans voting with the house-majority Democrats to support the measure.
It was not clear however if the move would definitely enable the tribe to reactivate its plan for a casino. It had planned to develop a tribal casino (pictured in an artist’s rendering) at Taunton, Massachusetts, in partnership with international casino investor Genting Malaysia Bhd.
Samuel Yin Shao Yang, an analyst at Maybank Investment Bank Bhd, said in a note following the move in the lower house of the U.S. Congress: “If a similar bill is passed in the U.S. Senate and President Donald Trump does not veto the bill, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe can build their First Light Resort and Casino and repay Genting Malaysia.”
Nonetheless an Arizona Republican member had sought to add an amendment to the lower-house bill that would bar Mashpee reservation land being “used for any gaming purposes” according to materials filed online by the House of Representatives. Some Taunton residents have also opposed the casino scheme.
A week earlier, social-media intervention from U.S. President Donald Trump calling on Republicans not to support the measure on the grounds it was a “special interest” measure, had reportedly led to its delay at that time.
Late last month it emerged that moves had been made to unseat several leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe over the so-far checked attempt to develop the casino.
Genting Malaysia confirmed to Bursa Malaysia in its 2018 annual results filed in February that it had recorded an impairment loss of MYR1.83 billion (US$440 million) on the group’s investment in promissory notes issued by the Mashpee Wampanoag in relation to the casino scheme.
(Updated 12.33pm, May 16)
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