The CNMI Lottery Commission approved yesterday Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s request that would enable it to bring in more investors and to build a 2,000-room integrated resort in Marpi.
Those two requests form part of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC four requests that were discussed during the commission’s meeting yesterday on Capital Hill.
The two other requests—lowering the local-hire requirement and its proposed integrated gaming facility—have been tabled and are still under discussion.
IPI, a publicly listed corporation at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under its par-ent company, IPI Holdings Ltd., sought the commission’s permission to amend its shareholder interest to allow the casino investor to diversify its portfolio. It is part of IPI’s plan to bring in other partners and get brand-name hotels for their project.
CLC chair Mark Rabauliman said IPI’s terms of reduction of the controlling inter-est is to be able to garner more interest from investors. “…The more investors you bring in, the more you highlight the investment.”
“Hopefully…the [investment] gets more diversified and grows. At the end of the day, we are here to support this growing enterprise [gaming]. …The CNMI would ben-efit.”
Under the casino license agreement, IPI’s controlling interest must not go below 51 percent. IPI wants to reduce that to enable it to diversify its portfolio.
Rabauliman added that, once IPI recovers, it would fill the economic downturn caused by Super Typhoon Yutu. “We want to be able to give everybody an opportunity to find a way to grow themselves. If they get back on track, so will we.”
“We ride along with them. Whether the people would like or not, gaming is one of our biggest industries, along with tourism. The more eggs we have in our basket, the better off we are. In the past, we only had the garment and tourism industries.”
“Tourism is seasonal. When it goes down, we’re really going to feel it. The more diversified our economy us, the better off we are,” he added.
Attracting new investors
IPI chief executive officer Mark Brown said that interest among those who want to invest in their project is high. “We had an event inviting about 200 investors a cou-ple of weeks ago and there is another 100 coming in the following week.”
“There’s a lot of interest from people. …They are looking at our company and what our plans are here. …We explain our plan to them [investors] and they are very interested.”
‘That’s why one of our requests is to allow us to actually offer more shares out. To have more investors and basically to have more partners coming in to Saipan so our company grows and the CNMI grows with it.”
The commission also approved the 2,000-room requirement for IPI’s soon-to-be-built hotel once they officially acquire the Marpi property.
Rabauliman said that, with the burgeoning tourism numbers, that could complete the three-legged stool of the CNMI economy: tourism, gaming, and cannabis.