Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd said it had achieved unaudited VIP table game rolling chip turnover of US$6.1 billion for the first quarter of 2016.
The firm currently operates a “temporary casino” on Saipan, a Pacific island that forms part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The US$25-million gaming venue, which began operations in November, had a total of 16 VIP gaming tables and 32 mass tables in the first quarter.
Imperial Pacific’s casino licence is held via a local unit called Best Sunshine International Ltd.
Imperial Pacific said in a Monday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the monthly VIP table game rolling chip turnover average of US$2.0 billion achieved in the first three months of 2016 represented a 30 percent increase compared to the monthly average of US$1.6 billion achieved in November and December 2015.
Unaudited overall gross gaming revenue (GGR) of the temporary casino for the first quarter was US$186.6 million, or an average of US$62.2 million, up by 36 percent compared to the monthly average achieved in November and December 2015. The GGR figure for the first quarter of 2016 included: US$176.9 million in VIP revenue; US$8.0 million from the mass table gaming segment; and US$1.8 million from slot machines.
“We continue to benefit from the trend of customers exploring alternative gaming venues in the region, and believe that Saipan is a compelling destination, a tropical island within easy reach of China, Korea and Japan, [and] a U.S. jurisdiction with visa-on-arrival entry for visitors,” company chief executive Mark Brown (pictured) said in a statement.
According to Imperial Pacific, “since November 2015, approximately 200 top-tier high rollers have visited our temporary casino in Saipan, many of whom have become return customers.”
Imperial Pacific last week was authorised by the Commonwealth Casino Commission to revise its rebate rate to 1.8 percent from 1.3 percent, reported a local newspaper. The report added that Imperial Pacific justified the request with the need to offer better incentives to VIP players than those provided by casinos in Macau and the Philippines. In Macau, rebate rates – usually paid under the form of commissions to junket operators – are capped at 1.25 percent of the rolling chip turnover.
The firm has pledged to spend as much as US$7 billion on a casino resort on Saipan.
The company started the construction of a US$500 million casino resort – the “Grand Mariana” – in mid-2015. According to Imperial Pacific, the venue will feature 350 hotel rooms, 15 suites, more than 200 gaming tables, 400-plus slot machines, several restaurants, a beach club and a night club. The Grand Mariana is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017, the firm stated in its Monday filing.
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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