Chinese Strategic Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed company that has previously had interests in Macau, says it is a step closer to taking over operations at Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Pacific territory.
The company, via its Gain Millennia Ltd subsidiary, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd, the owner of the casino hotel, the firm said in a filing.
Chinese Strategic, listed on Hong Kong’s Growth Enterprise Market, is chaired by Wilfred Lam Kwok Hing, also an executive director of the company. In the filing, Hong Kong Entertainment is described as a connected person of Chinese Strategic “at the subsidiary level”.
Tinian Dynasty (pictured) is – since its establishment in 1998 – the only existing casino hotel on the island. It currently has 412 rooms. The casino operates about 50 slot machines and 40 tables, mostly baccarat and blackjack.
“Pursuant to the MOU, conditional upon approval of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, Gain Millennia will have complete control over the hotel operations and the gaming operations on the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino,” said Chinese Strategic.
The agreement is due to be enacted by March 31, with the lease commencing by June 30, the company added. The lease is valid for an initial term of six years and could be renewed for consecutive periods of six years until 2051.
In its latest filing, Chinese Strategic said its executives met with the executive director and legal counsels of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission on January 27 and 28. According to the filing, the Tinian gaming regulators agreed on a preliminary basis “that the structure of the MOU is feasible”.
In 2013, Hong Kong Entertainment and two executives of Tinian Dynasty were charged with a conspiracy to allow gamblers to conduct transactions involving more than US$10,000 without filing the required paperwork with the U.S. government.
The property managers have since entered into a settlement deal with the U.S. government in exchange for the dismissal of the criminal charges against them.
The U.S. government filed in November 2014 a second, superseding, indictment that contains 158 criminal charges against Hong Kong Entertainment, the Saipan Tribune reported last month. The newspaper said that the parties were talking of a possible settlement deal. A jury trial is set for February 9, it added.
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Daniel Boone Wayson
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