Early this month, Imperial Pacific International LCC asked the Lottery Commission to amend four items in the Casino License Agreement. At the Commonwealth Casino Commission meeting last Thursday at their newly renovated office on Middle Road, it was discussed that the Lottery Commission approved two out of the four requests.
First was IPI’s request to have partners join them or integrated investors that will allow them to build rooms that will form part of 2,000 rooms and provide high-end amenities in the planned Marpi resort.
Casino Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said this request makes sense and was approved. “The commission sees no problem with that,” he added.
The second request that was approved was for the Lottery Commission to allow the majority IPI shareholder, who currently maintains 51 percent ownership, to be lowered to 10 percent.
IPI chief executive officer Mark Brown then explained to the Casino Commission the two other requests that remain pending with the Lottery Commission.
One, IPI asked for an additional 18 months to complete construction of its Garapan Resort. “They deferred decision on that and want to put that on the side for now until the next meeting. We discussed how they wanted to give us a year extension in the past, which we turned down. This time around, we asked for 18 more months.”
Brown told Saipan Tribune that IPI is trying its very best to complete the construction. “We are having all these troubles of getting construction workers.” He pointed out that IPI would not be asking for the extension two years ago “if we got hold of the Marpi land, if we didn’t have all these issues with typhoons, construction workers, H2-Bs, and 700 employees that had to go home.”
Two years ago, Brown said, IPI wouldn’t have asked for an additional year to complete the Garapan project by 2022, “as we were honest that the target of February 2021 was perfect.”
“Now with all these happenings, it looks like we are asking for another extension, which we could have had it in the beginning,” he added.
The fourth request by IPI is for the Lottery Commission to lower its U.S. hire ratio from 65 percent to 30 percent.
“We strive to reach 65 percent as it is a goal and best effort but…we have a lot of Asian [gamers] and we do need some Asian dealers and that’s why some of the CWs have to be from Macau,” Brown said.
The commission went to executive session to discuss further the details of the amendments that were requested.