Casino license holder Best Sunshine International, Ltd. reported that it continues to address housing concerns for hundreds of its employees who were affected by the recent typhoon.
BSI recently opened a temporary casino at the T Galleria in Garapan, employing an estimated 300 individuals, a third of whom are contract workers and the rest are locals.
Mark A. Brown, CEO of BSI, said the company continues to deal with “internal” issues, particularly the housing requirements of its employees.
Typhoon Soudelor devastated Saipan, causing power and water to go out on the whole island. Up to now, power is still nonexistent, while water supply services are slowly being restored.
Brown said one of the challenges for BSI is how to move the employees to suitable housing while the utilities are still out.
Currently, BSI has leases on Mango Resort and Mango Apartments, as well as an apartment in Garapan. Power is out on these company “barracks.” These locations were leased for one year.
Matthew Harkness, the company COO, said the contracts of foreign workers include housing and that moving them from hotel to hotel remains a challenge.
Most hotels on Saipan are almost always fully booked, with tourists and local waiting for power to be restored.
Tal Xing of Imperial Pacific Holdings, the mother company of BSI, said the company continues to work with the CNMI government on how to best address the needs of those affected by the typhoon.
Xing said one positive note on the typhoon is that it will show that BSI “is determined to stay.”
Brown said the temporary casino had to close on the first two days of the typhoon. BSI, however, opted to reopen it again to accommodate visitors and to allow staff to resume work.
However, the planned grand opening of the casino had to be moved from August to “sometime” in October, Brown said.
“The typhoon threw us in a loop,” he said.
At the moment, the casino has 10 gaming tables and 48 e-gaming machines in operation. The casino has a total of 106 machines. Most are still being certified before they can be turned on.
BSI is also holding regular meetings with casino regulators.