A bill by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to allow a Native American tribe to continue a stalled Massachusetts casino project is being pushed by lobbyists for Malaysian gambling giant Genting, which invested close to $300 million in the project and risks losing it all.
Warren's bill to help the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe build its proposed casino has raised eyebrows given her record on gambling—she supported efforts to repeal laws expanding gambling in Massachusetts, saying casinos are a "real problem economically for a lot of people," according to the Washington Times. Nevertheless, she introduced a bill that would reaffirm the tribe's rights to the casino land, allowing it to continue work on a $1 billion casino project that was halted by a U.S. District Court ruling that the federal government overstepped its authority to give the tribe the land.
The biggest push behind the effort has come from the Genting Group, a Kuala Lumpur-based company with a global portfolio of casino businesses that has $249.5 million invested in the troubled project and is slated to manage the First Light Resort & Casino if it's completed, according to Malaysian reports.
Genting disclosed in its 2015 annual report its $249.5 million investment in promissory notes from the Mashbee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority. It gained no equity from the investment, which was intended to "establish" its "growing presence in the U.S."