Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd – holder of a casino licence for the Pacific island of Saipan (pictured) – said on Wednesday it had received what it called a ‘‘Notice to Proceed’’ dated July 14, from the Division of Coastal Resources Management of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
“The Notice to Proceed, together with other relevant permits obtained, fulfil the regulatory and statutory requirements for the licensee to commence site construction of the town hotel, Grand Mariana Casino and Hotel Resort, in Garapan, Saipan,” stated Imperial Pacific International in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
“Such [an] integrated resort will have a total of 254 rooms and gaming facilities. The licensee has commenced site construction on 15 July 2015 and that construction work would fully complete within 16 months,” it added.
Several industry sources have independently told GGRAsia that a temporary casino – being constructed by Imperial Pacific International ahead of the main project and authorised by the authorities in CNMI – could be open very soon.
Imperial Pacific International said in a filing in June that it expected to launch and operate such a temporary casino in the third quarter of 2015. Neither that filing nor Wednesday’s filing mentioned the budget for either the full resort or the temporary casino.
GGRAsia has approached the government of CNMI and a representative of Best Sunshine International Ltd – the unit of Imperial Pacific International that will run the casino operation – for comment, but had received no replies at the time this story went online.
Mark Brown, who in November was appointed chief executive of Best Sunshine, was quoted by the Saipan Tribune newspaper on June 28 saying the opening date of the casino resort was a “moving target”. That report didn’t specify whether he was referring to the temporary structure or the main resort.
Imperial Pacific International has pledged to spend as much as US$7.1 billion on its project in Saipan, starting with the town hotel in 2016, followed by the launch of the integrated resort in 2018.
CNMI is a Commonwealth of the United States with the same legal status as Puerto Rico.
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