Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has reportedly said it will not be able to comply with the August deadline for completion of the first phase of its casino resort in Saipan, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Pacific jurisdiction. The casino operator has asked to be allowed to extend the target date for completion to December, reported the Saipan Tribune newspaper.
Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed casino investor Imperial Pacific International Ltd. It operates the Imperial Pacific Resort (pictured), a gaming facility that opened in July 2017.
“The development of the resort hotel experienced a big jump and we are trying to [do] everything and get ready for the inspection by the end of the year,” Eric Poon, the subsidiary’s vice president for construction, was quoted as saying during a meeting with members of the Commonwealth Casino Commission.
Currently, the first phase of the scheme is only 68 percent complete, according to Mr Poon.
The first phase of the Imperial Pacific Resort – which the company terms the “initial gaming facility” – must include: a 329-room four- or five-star hotel; a gaming area with a total of 14,140 square metres (152,202 sq feet); as well as villas, restaurants, retail and meeting space.
The company said on July 31, 2017 that it had reached an agreement with the Saipan authorities to amend its casino licence. Under such agreement, the so-called “initial gaming facility” should be fully operational by August 31, 2018.
Failure to finish the construction on August 31 would require another amendment of the casino operator’s licence agreement.
The media outlet quoted Edward Deleon Guerrero, executive director of the Commonwealth Casino Commission, as saying that any changes to the agreement requires the commission “to go back and change our own regulation to be compatible with the agreement as we absorb the agreement as part of the regulatory functions”.
According to the Saipan Tribune, the latest request for extension would entail the sixth amendment to the casino licence agreement. Juan Sablan, chairman of the Commonwealth Casino Commission, reportedly asked the casino operator to come up with a “realistic deadline” in its request for extension, as it could face sanctions if it breaches the casino licence agreement.
Lu Hou Tsai, senior vice president of operations for Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific, said in a recent interview with GGRAsia that the company is fully committed to realising the casino resort on Saipan.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China