The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has officially been deemed a sovereign territory by the United States government, according to Boston’s WCVB. With the approval, the group can move along with plans to build and operate a tribal casino.
The $500 million First Light Resort & Casino will be located in Taunton, Mass., a town about 40 miles south of Boston and nearly 20 miles east of Providence, R.I.
The tribe was awarded 321 acres of land in 2007, with 151 in Taunton and 170 in Mashpee, Mass., which is an hour away.
The plan for a casino has been in motion since 2012. Designed by JCJ Architecure, First Light will feature a 150,000-sf casino (with 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games, and 40 poker tables), a buffet, a steakhouse, a food court, 10 retail stores, and more than 4,500 parking spaces between a garage and lot.
The hotel portion will have 600 rooms, a 15,000-sf event center, and a 25,000-sf indoor and outdoor water park. Construction on the resort can start as early as next spring.
The tribe says that the casino and resort will generate 1,000 union construction job and $140 million in direct and indirect economic benefit to Taunton and the region annually.