Best Sunshine International Ltd, operator of a temporary casino on the Pacific island of Saipan, is interested in bidding for 160 hectares (395.4 acres) of public land, including an area currently within the boundary of an existing resort and spa, according to a local media report.
“We have not [submitted a proposal] yet. But we will,” Best Sunshine chief executive Mark Brown was quoted as telling the Marianas Variety newspaper in a report carrying Tuesday’s date.
On June 25, another media outlet, the Saipan Tribune newspaper, had reported that the owners and employees of the Mariana Resort and Spa (pictured), a non-gaming property located at the northern end of Saipan, were “shocked” at a decision by the Department of Public Lands to solicit competitive bids for the land. The venue’s own long-term lease with the government is set to expire in 2018 according to both outlets.
The deadline for submission of proposals regarding the future use of the land in question is May 27, 2016, according to Tuesday’s media report.
On Friday, Best Sunshine – a unit of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd – held the official opening of its temporary casino located at Garapan, approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) southwest of the Mariana Resort and Spa site.
Imperial Pacific has pledged to spend as much as US$7.1 billion on a permanent casino resort on Saipan, a Pacific island that forms part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
According to Marianas Variety, Best Sunshine legal counsel Viola Alepuyo said in a separate interview it might be possible for the firm’s investment to be spread across two sites. She added that under the terms of the casino licence agreement made with the local authorities, it would be possible to refurbish an existing structure.
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Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China