Tribal Organization: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
FIRST LIGHT RESORT AND CASINO
Routes 24 & Route 140
Taunton, MA 02718
April 11, 2016
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has federal approval to build a $1 billion casino in Taunton about 40 miles south of Boston and 20 miles from Providence.
In Sept 2015 the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the Tribe's request to take their land into federal trust, including their 152-acre casino site in Taunton. This action was completed on January 8, 2016 and officially designated Mashpee Wampanoag lands as a reservation and a sovereign tribal nation. This action allowed the tribe to proceed with construction of their resort casino.
The official ground-breaking was held April 05, 2016. The scheduled opening of Phase 1 was summer of 2017. The 4 phases of construction are outlined below.
The First Light casino plan calls for construction to be completed in 4 phases. These phases and their estimated schedules are shown below:
150,000 Sq. Ft.
150 table games
40 poker tables
Food Court - 7 to 10 food outlets
Two Fine Dining Restaurants
- Steakhouse / Seafood
- Asian Restaurant
Center Bar with lounge seats and small stage
Retail Space - 10 retail stores
Parking - 2,500 to 3,200 space parking garage and 2,085 surface parking spaces
Hotel Tower 1
Additional gaming space
12 Stories in height
6 Event / Meeting Rooms
Hotel Tower 2
Cafe restaurant - 200 seat, open 24 hours
Family Water Park Hotel
Event Center - 15,000 sq ft
Indoor/Outdoor Water Park - 25,000 Sq. Ft.
Parking - additional 700 surface parking spots
September 07, 2018
On Friday a decision was made that put the future Taunton Casino development on hold. The casino project would be owned by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Cape Cod. The casino would have cost $1 billion to complete.
The tribe was notified that the land where they wanted to build the casino would not be placed into trust for them by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 2015 300 acres were placed into trust by the department for the tribe. The tribe was then able to use the land as their sovereign reservation as it was declared as such by the federal government. However, long lasting and ongoing legal battles by residents in the area caused a delay in the project. The department was then ordered by a federal judge to reconsider the action of placing the land into trust. The judge ruled that putting the land into trust did not fall under the authority of the department to do so.
In the ruling that was 28 pages long, it was said that land cannot be placed into trust for the tribe under the Indian Reorganization Act. The act was passed in 1934. Under this act, the tribe does not qualify to have the land placed into trust because it was not under the federal jurisdiction when it passed.
The tribe can trace their ancestors back to the arrival of the Pilgrims. However, they did not receive their federal recognition until 2007.
The federal government can grant a special status by placing land into trust. The property title is held by the government and allows for a tribe to use the land for their own use under their own decisions. They are free to use the land's natural resources and are tax exempt.
Ground was previously broken for the Taunton Casino project. However, construction was stopped by the tribe after the ruling.Back