The Commonwealth Casino Commission has approved four new junket gaming operators that can now deal directly with Imperial Pacific International (CNM) LLC, a move that could partially solve their issues on uncollectable gambling debts.
The profit of IPI Holdings Limited, the Hong Kong-based parent company of IPI (CNMI), plunged by almost 50 percent largely due to uncollected gambling debts from VIPs and other high-rollers that played at the Saipan casino.
Hongyi Ma’s Stellar Paradise CNMI LLC, Hong Zhang’s Bula Mula LLC, Jiming Dong’s High Tides (CNMI) LLC, and Ni “Lily” Ren’s Hengqin Guiji LLC are the four new junket operators who were part of the 17 applicants that the CCC had been screening.
They join Big Bang Entertainment of South Korea, whose clients are mostly high-rollers from South Korea and Japan, who has been previously approved as a junket operator by the CNMI Casino Commission.
The five junket operators are governed by federal regulations—anti-money laundering rules, anti-terrorism financing programs, and others—since the CNMI is a U.S. territory. CNMI tax laws and U.S. visa requirements must also be followed.
The CNMI Lottery Commission has also signed an amendment request by IPI (CNMI) that allowed them to operate a less than four/five star hotel property when they take over the Mariana Resort & Spa property in Marpi.
The deal, however, also needs the blessing of the Department of Public Lands since the Marpi land occupied by Mariana Resort & Spa is now government property as their lease extension already expired yesterday.
News also broke out last Friday that Guam-based contractor Pacific Rim will no longer continue working on the casino construction project after IPI (CNMI) terminated its contract with Pacific Rim effective yesterday.
Pacific Rim senior project manager Richard Suryn, in a note posted by Rep. Ed Propst (Ind-Saipan) on social media, gave out a notice to all of their employees working on the IPI construction site, saying that IPI had ended their contract.
“Accordingly, it is with regret that we must give you this notice of layoff. Your employment status will change to layoff effective Oct. 25 unless you are notified of another change of employment status before Oct. 25,” said Suryn.
In a statement, IPI said: “For Pacific Rim, there is no effect as we still have workers working on the project and IPI is managing the construction at the moment.”
Another issue that broke out over the weekend is that Bank of Saipan started charging IPI casino employees when cashing their paychecks, starting with last Friday’s payroll.
Some employees described it as unfair since BoS issued the checks in the first place.
They added that they are only being paid minimum wage rate and now will have to pay an extra charge for cashing their checks even if it is issued by the same bank.