Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd says VIP gaming operations at its “temporary casino” (pictured) in Saipan have reached saturation, half a year after the property started operations.
“The board anticipates that the VIP gaming operations will cease to grow and have become saturated,” at least until Imperial Pacific opens its under-construction Grand Mariana Casino and Hotel Resort, the firm said in a Wednesday filing.
On Monday, the company announced that the temporary casino’s unaudited VIP table games rolling chip turnover for April was US$3.2 billion.
Imperial Pacific said the “saturation” estimate took into account the temporary casino’s unaudited VIP table games rolling for the past six months, the “actual operational scale and service reception capability” of the facility as well as the installed hotel capacity in Saipan, a Pacific island that forms part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, also known as CNMI.
The firm’s US$25-million temporary casino began operations in November. It 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 an April filing that the temporary casino had achieved a monthly VIP table game rolling chip turnover average of US$2.0 billion in the first three months of 2016, representing a 30 percent increase compared to the monthly average of US$1.6 billion achieved in November and December 2015.
“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 said at the time.
Imperial Pacific last month was authorised by the Commonwealth Casino Commission, the regulator of gaming on Saipan, CNMI’s main island, 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.
Imperial Pacific started the construction of its US$500-million Grand Mariana casino resort in mid-2015. According to the firm, the venue will feature 350 hotel rooms, 15 villas, 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, according to earlier announcements by Imperial Pacific.
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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