Four junkets had licensing approved by Saipan’s Commonwealth Casino Commission on Monday, for gaming operations at Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd’s Saipan casino resort (pictured), reported the Marianas Variety newspaper.
The four entities were named as: Jiming Dong’s High Tides (CNMI) LLC, Hongyi Ma’s Stellar Paradise CNMI LLC, Hong Zhang’s Bula Mula LLC and Ni “Lily” Ren’s Hengqin Guiji LLC. Each received what was described as a two-year regular licence.
The Commission’s executive director Edward Guerrero was cited in the report saying the licensing was subject to several conditions: most importantly the anti-money-laundering and terrorist-financing compliance programme for operating junkets in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a United States jurisdiction in the Pacific of which Saipan forms a part.
He added that junket operators must understand and comply with CNMI tax laws and regulations as well as U.S. visa requirements.
According to Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific’s interim report for the six months to June 30, filed on Monday, the firm had been “working closely with gaming promoters and regulators for the grant of junket operator licences”.
The firm had noted in that filing: “Having the advantage of CNMI’s relatively low tax regime, we believe we will be able to offer very competitive commission rates to potential gaming promoters.”
The same document said Imperial Pacific was subject to local income tax; and 1.5 percent to 5 percent business gross revenue tax.
The firm is entitled to rebates on local income tax ranging from 90 percent to 50 percent on income sourced from CNMI territory, added the document.
For casino gaming revenue, the rebate offset amount is equal to 100 percent of income tax imposed on net gaming revenue taxable income up to US$15 million. For casino net gaming taxable income in excess of US$15 million, the rebate offset amount ranges from 90 percent to 50 percent of the income tax imposed.
In its interim report, Imperial Pacific noted that a significant portion of its VIP casino customers was sourced “through the group’s own marketing avenues”. “In addition, a minor operation of the group’s VIP customers has been sourced via a licensed junket operator since August 2016,” it said.
The firm’s VIP rolling chip volume reached approximately HKD100.3 billion for the first six months of 2018, down 48.9 percent from the prior-year period.
On its interim balance sheet filed in late August, Imperial Pacific said that gross trade receivables – typically associated in the casino industry with money owed by VIP gamblers for losses they incurred while playing on credit – for the six months to June 30 were up slightly, at HKD13.70 billion (US$1.75 billion), compared to HKD13.28 billion in the prior-year period.
The full interim report said that for the six months to June 30, there was no provision for impairment from the group’s largest individual debtor on money owed as of December 31, 2017, namely for just over HKD1.09 billion .
For the year ended December 31, the provision for impairment of trade receivables due from the group’s 10 largest debtors amounted to just under HKD2.46 billion, compared to nearly HKD1.87 billion in the prior year.
In late August Imperial Pacific was granted another deadline extension, this time until February 28, 2021, to complete the initial phase of its Saipan casino resort.
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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