[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1 link=same] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2]

Skip to Content

Operator News

US – Presidential tweet scuppers vote for Genting’s First Light Casino

By - 10 May 2019

A tweet from US President Donald Trump has stalled a vote that would pave the way for a Native American tribe to build a casino in Massachusetts on contested land.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe wants to use the land at Taunton, Massachusetts, only 25 miles, from Tiverton, Rhode Island to build a casino called First Light Casino in conjunction with Malaysian casino operator Genting.

The all-important bill was due to be voted on in the House of Representatives, however President Trump urged Republicans to vote against the legislation, prompting Democrats to pull the bill from consideration. The vote would have determined if the land should be classed as tribal reservation land. If it is then the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe would be able to move forward with its casino plans without needing state legislation.

‘Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth Warren. It is unfair and doesn’t treat Native Americans equally,’ he claimed.

Rhode Island legislators, including two Democratic senators; Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, want to block the bill, seeing it as a threat to casino revenues in Rhode Island.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has previously said: ‘We will be obliged to use all avenues to block this legislation if there is an attempt to move it.” The bill’s co-sponsor, Elizabeth Warren, is a political foe of President Trump’s, who is planning to run for President.

The bill’s main sponsor, Republican Bill Keating, claimed Trump’s opposition was fuelled by a desire to protect White House ally Matt Schlapp, a Republican lobbyist and husband of Trump’s communications director. Mr. Schlapp represents Twin River Management Group, which owns two casinos in Rhode Island that would compete with the planned Taunton casino.
“Trump signed an identical bill last year. So why tweet against a bill recognising the tribe of the first Thanksgiving? Because of his well-documented alliance with the RI casino lobbyist. A weak attempt to hide corrupt influence in a racist tweet,” Mr. Keating said.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Republican Joe Kennedy, said: “To have this process play out the way it did with the amount to misinformation and what appears to be just blatant corruption. It’s disheartening, to say the least, and disgusting is probably a more adequate characterization.”

He added that Trump ‘doesn’t want to run against her [Elizabeth Warren]’ in the 2020 presidential election.

Designed by Paul Steelman, First Light Resort & Casino will include 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games, 40 poker tables, fine dining restaurants; a food court with international buffet; and 24-hour café, three 15-story, 300-room luxury hotels, a 31,000 square-foot multi-purpose function room, a spa and a water park.

Local residents though had argued that the 2015 awarding of the 300 acres of land for a casino was a misinterpretation of the Indian Reorganization Act, as outlined by a 2009 Supreme Court ruling.

Image By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46772937

Share via
Copy link