Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC chief executive officer Donald Browne stressed that IPI has nothing to do with a recent statement by the Chinese Communist Party that it plans to “blacklist” cross-border gambling tourism destinations, which could possibly include the CNMI.
He conceded that the party, which is the ruling government of China, did come out with a statement that it is going to bar destinations that have gambling tourism destinations but “it really has nothing to do with us because there’s already gambling here before.”
This statement came about during the Commonwealth Casino Commission board’s monthly meeting Tuesday when CCC chair Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said he wants to discuss the matter with IPI as he believes it will have a very serious implication on not only casino gambling in the CNMI but tourism in general.
In response, Browne said that gamblers do not only come from China and that, prior to COVID-19, less than half of tourists coming to the CNMI are not from China.
In a later interview during a break in the meeting, Browne said if China chooses to bar tourists coming here because there is gambling here, it really has nothing to do with IPI because there’s been gambling here since the previous decades. “So they wouldn’t make the determination just based on these things,” he said.
Browne said he believes the Chinese government’s sentiment is related to wiring money for gambling uses, which is not allowed in China.
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 report.