Marianas Stars reconsidered as Saipan casino applicant


By a vote of 3-1, the Lottery Commission reconsidered Friday noon its May 9 decision to reject Marianas Stars Entertainment Inc.’s application.

This means Marianas Stars Entertainment Inc., just like Best Sunshine International Ltd., will still have a chance to be granted a license to exclusively develop a minimum $2 billion casino resort on Saipan.

The three commissioners’ votes were from chairman and Commerce Secretary Sixto Igisomar, Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson, and Deputy Attorney General Gil Birnbrich. The no vote was from Public Safety Commissioner James Deleon Guerrero.

But the commission’s approval of Marianas Stars’ request for reconsideration has two conditions–that a $30 million has to be deposited in escrow by 3pm on Monday, May 19; and Marianas Stars has to make a presentation about its business plan at 10am on Tuesday, May 20.

The four-member commission also adopted a motion to amend the contracts with casino investigator B2G Global Strategies and gaming consultant The Innovation Group of Companies, following the reconsideration of the second investor group’s casino application.

Commission counsel Jim Stump said a written decision will be issued shortly.

Igisomar said the written decision will state the “why” and “how” of the commission’s decision.

Attorney Sean Frink, counsel for Marianas Stars along with Marcia Schulz, said the deadlines followed by the Lottery Commission were not in accordance with Public Law 18-43, which amended the original casino law or PL 18-38. He said the correct deadline for the $30 million deposit is May 16.

The commission went into an executive session for about an hour. When the public session resumed, they voted on a motion to reconsider or not reconsider their May 9 decision and to re-accept Marianas’ Stars application.

Cario Hon of Marianas Stars, flanked by other executives of the investor group and their consultant, later told reporters that they are “very happy to hear this.”

He said there may have been “misunderstanding” or “misleading” communication that occurred, leading to the commission’s original decision.

“We will try our best…We are very confident in our project,” Hon said.

Full story in Monday’s paper.

Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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