‘BSI should partner with FBI’


Commonwealth Casino Commission chair Juan M. Sablan suggested to officials of Imperial Pacific International Holdings to consider partnering with the FBI since it is now the norm that is being followed by some Las Vegas casinos.

Sablan, in yesterday’s board meeting, said that has been the FBI’s message now to help casinos combat illegal gambling and keep money laundering in check.

“The message from the FBI and the federal people is, let’s partner. We won’t hide on the side, let’s partner.”

Best Sunshine International, Ltd., Imperial Pacific’s subsidiary, is the lone casino operating on Saipan after being awarded a 25-year license to build and operate a gaming facility. BSI currently has a live training facility, renting a portion of T Galleria Saipan, as it awaits the completion of the Grand Mariana Casino Hotel and Resort early next year.

“They [BSI] should work with the FBI and partner with them. It has been standard training in Las Vegas to partner and work with them. They [FBI] want to work with the casinos in the states, so it is also better for BSI to also partner with them,” said Sablan.

He added that times have changed right now. “It is a different approach now. They are partnering with the casinos. Before they are outside the house, now they are inside.”

The American Gaming Association, which also addresses regulatory issues of its members like casinos, in November last year partnered with the FBI as part of their plan to combat illegal gambling operators.

“It’s better to have a sense of partnership so if there’s anything that we don’t know, we could ask them,” said Sablan, who added that he saw three BSI personnel that participated in an anti-money laundering training in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

“Title 31 [AML in gaming] is important for the casino. We must comply with Title 31 or whatever federal statute. If you don’t you will be charge either civil or criminal. That’s why ne need to do our job in regulating and monitoring,” said Sablan.

He said that the commission wants BSI and its casino to be successful with its operations here on Saipan. “We want you to succeed here, since it creates employment opportunities and pay taxes.”

Sablan said training is an important part of casino development that’s why it is better to look at casinos that operate in the Philippines, Macau, and Singapore. “We’re competing with other destinations. So they could improve and attract more players here.

“[BSI’s] live training facility is small compared to [Las] Vegas, but it is almost a real casino. Operating 24 hours, so we want to make sure that everything is done accordingly.”

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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