Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC chief executive officer Donald Browne said yesterday that there is no indication that the CNMI would be on any Chinese Community Party’s “blacklist” of cross-border gambling tourism destinations.
“It would be rather presumptuous on our part to assume this,” Browne said.
He said there are many expert opinions on which destinations may be targeted for blacklisting and the justifications for doing so but the CNMI does not have any of the components of a red flag.
“Yes, we have gambling but, at this point, it’s a small industry comparatively, and Chinese tourists are relatively minuscule compared to the destinations that may be targeted,” Browne said.
He pointed out that only 186,000 mainland Chinese came to the CNMI in 2019. Comparatively, 6 million mainland Chinese went to South Korea in 2019; 5.81 million went to Vietnam; 3.4 million went to Singapore; 2.6 million went to Cambodia; 1.74 million went to the Philippines, and 1.44 million went to Australia.
Browne earlier stated that IPI has nothing to do with it in response to a report that the Chinese Communist Party is looking at “blacklisting” cross-border gambling tourism destinations.
CCC chair Edward C. Deleon Guerrero stated during CCC board’s meeting last week that he wants to discuss the matter with IPI, as he believes this will have a very serious implications on not only casino gambling in the CNMI but tourism in general.
It was reported last August that China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that the ministry and other departments will jointly launch a blacklist of overseas travel destinations.
Chinese gamblers spend an estimated $145 billion a year on illegal gambling sites, mostly in the Philippines, according to The South China Morning Post.