Finance: More revenue with casino

Casino opens on Thursday
The casino area of the Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan. (Erwin Encinares)

The casino area of the Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan. (Erwin Encinares)

The Finance Department predicts more revenue for the Commonwealth this year as the casino training facility inside T Galleria moves across the street to the more expansive area inside the Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan.

Finance Secretary Larissa Larson told a House committee on Friday that she predicts higher income for the Commonwealth government once the training facility moves to the hotel.

Though she made the statement prior to the announcement of the soft opening of the casino this Thursday, Larson believes that more revenue may be expected from the larger venue.

She added that the training facility was set up as nothing more than a training facility. The revenue that will come from the actual casino floor will be a “bonus on top of what was originally planned.”

“When we set up the training facility, it was really set up as a training facility. [The casino] was never factored in from the plans before,” said Larson. “[In] the shift to the bigger facility, they are more experienced, are already trained, and are ready to go,” she said.

“A bigger facility with more opportunities for gaming can only be more profitable.”

The IPR casino opens to public

The training facility inside T Galleria would officially be closing down and transferring to the hotel premises this Thursday.

The casino would technically be open to the public but a grand opening of the casino is being set for another date.

It was also mentioned that the casino would be opening as a live training facility as opposed to a fully functional casino. The T Galleria training facility, once moved to IPR premises, would be fully renovated within a span of 24 months, or two years, according to DFS Saipan president Marian Aldan-Pierce.

The go-signal to move the live training facility from T Galleria to the IPR premises was approved by the Commonwealth Casino Commission last June 29, 2017, after the Lottery Commission amended the casino license agreement to allow the casino to open prior to the availability of 250 five-star quality hotel rooms.

According to IPR officials, the grand opening is slated for mid-July.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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