A senior official of Saipan’s gaming regulator is to recommend at this month’s meeting of the body that the Pacific island’s monopoly casino resort licensee – Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC – be fined US$375,000 for the reportedly late payment of its annual US$15-million licence fee.
So said the Saipan Tribune newspaper on Tuesday, citing as the source Edward Guerrero, executive director of the Commonwealth Casino Commission.
Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), a unit of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd, reportedly settled payment in full of its annually-renewable licence on August 27. Mr Guerrero was cited saying that was 15 days after a required deadline, and that the unit should therefore be fined US$25,000 per day for the late payment.
According to Mr Guerrero, the casino regulator on Saipan – the main island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a United States jurisdiction – has the authority either to issue a warning to the Imperial Pacific unit, or fine it per proven violation of what is known locally as the Casino License Agreement.
The news outlet said the official noted the local Imperial Pacific unit had mentioned several reasons for the payment delay; in particular that it had already paid US$10 million to the Department of Public Lands as a deposit related to some fundraising efforts. According to Mr Guerrero, the licence fee payment and the fundraising deposit were separate matters and had to be dealt with independently.
Completion of the Imperial Pacific Resort casino complex (pictured in a file photo) has been postponed on a number of occasions as the developer has made a number of efforts to raise money to finish building it.
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Paulo Martins Chan
Director of Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau