Gaming investor Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd is seeking to amend its casino licence agreement with the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, including extending the deadline to complete construction of its permanent casino on Saipan.
“The request to extend [the deadline] was made necessary due to a variety of challenges that caused construction delays, especially the severe damage to construction equipment from Typhoon Soudelor that took several months to repair,” the firm stated in a press release quoted by the Marianas Variety media outlet.
Typhoon Soudelor was considered the strongest tropical cyclone in the Asia Pacific region in 2015.
Other challenges mentioned by the company to request the deadline extension for completing its Saipan casino (pictured in a rendering) included: “adverse weather conditions making the tower cranes inoperable”; “unstable soil conditions that caused damage to pilings”; and “lack of readily available skilled laborers”.
“Imperial Pacific anxiously awaits the governor and lottery commission’s decision on the request to extend the deadlines,” the release said, as quoted by the Marianas Variety. “However, despite the extension request, Imperial Pacific will diligently work with its subcontractors and government agencies to bring its grand development to the CNMI community at the earliest possible opportunity,” it added.
GGRAsia contacted Imperial Pacific about its request to the CNMI government, but the firm said no further details were available at this time.
According to a February report from the Marianas Variety, Imperial Pacific had already sent a letter to the CNMI governor requesting the extension of several deadlines related to the construction of the casino resort.
The report said that the firm had requested an extension of its temporary casino operations from the original date of April 30, 2017, to that of October 31, 2017; as well as an extension – of the deadline to complete the construction and start operations at the permanent casino – from August 11, 2017 to February 11, 2018.
Imperial Pacific has the right to an exclusive casino licence on the Pacific island of Saipan. The firm’s unit Best Sunshine International Ltd is currently operating a temporary casino – which opened in July 2015 – on Saipan.
Imperial Pacific had said in January it planned to launch the new casino resort – called Imperial Pacific Resort – “in the first quarter of 2017”. A company executive had recently mentioned that the property could have a “soft opening” on March 31.
Imperial Pacific has stated in previous filings that the casino at the 350-suite Imperial Pacific Resort would feature around “200 to 300 gaming tables” and “300 to 400 slot machines”.
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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia