3 junket operators for casino OK’d

Posted on Mar 05 2019


The owners of the three new junket operator companies that have been approved to do business with Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC attend last week’s Commonwealth Casino Commission meeting at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library video conference room. (Jon Perez)

Three junket operators—Bula Mula LLC, High Tides LLC, and Stellar Paradise LLC—have been approved to work with Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC and bring in big gamblers.

The Commonwealth Casino Commission approved the applications of the three junket companies for a provisional license during last week’s meeting at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library video conference room.

Junket operators invite or attract bigtime players and other VIPs to casinos. They usually offer first-class accommodations—from travel to hotel and other personalized perks.

Owners Zhang Hong (Bula Mula), Dong Jiming (Hight Tides), and Ma Hongyi (Stellar Paradise) were represented by lawyer Michael Dotts when they attended last week’s CCC monthly meeting.

The only other junket operator whose provisional license CCC has already approved is Big Bang Entertainment.

CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said the three junket operators still need to complete their documentation requirements. “We’re still working with them to get those documents, but they already have the license. They are ready to operate here. Last week, we did the final junket agreement between IPI and them.”

“They are here to set up their bank accounts and all of their other operational requirements. They have the business license and this is also the first time they get the chance to meet with the commissioners. …Prior to that, they have been with our staff.”

He said the commission is vetting four more junket operators after a fifth one backed out. They are also still accepting other applicants for junket operators. “We’re not going to put a limit on the number of junket operators.”

Sablan said they are also looking at how junket operators work in Australia. “That’s a little bit less in restrictions. But we are still requiring everyone that does business in gaming to follow local and federal requirements, particularly with the Bank Secrecy Act.”

“In [BSA], there’s the requirement for the anti-money laundering programs and we want to make sure that every junket operator understands the rules and complies with those requirements. We [also] require every junket applicant to have a CNMI business license and CNMI bank account.”

He added that the CCC also monitors the revenue of a junket operator, as part of their function. “So, in a sense, when the junket operator makes money, IPI is taxed on it and so is the operator. We are going to monitor that as part of our government function. CCC is allowed to look into their [junket operators] books and bank accounts/records.”

“We have done this before to Big Bang [Entertainment]. We monitor their monthly activities. Whatever they report as their income, we send our auditors in to [check] to make sure that whatever tax they need to pay are properly assessed and paid.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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