North Marianas – A measure for five casinos on Saipan has been introduced by a legislator.

Saipan casinos

Ralph N. Yumul, a CNMI legislator, has introduced a bill that would end Imperial Pacific’s casino monopoly and allow the islands to have up to five casino licenses.

The measure reduces the license fee for the five licensees to US$5 million, down from the current US$15 million for a single casino licensee. Imperial Pacific International, a troubled casino operator, is facing a slew of accusations and fines, and is likely to be thrown out of the island’s casino industry.

Mr. Yumul said to local media: “The present situation, where the exclusive casino licensee has not been able to pay taxes and, most relevantly, cannot reliably pay the US$15m guaranteed license fee, demonstrates that it was imprudent for the Commonwealth to rely on just one industry and just one company. Tying the fate of the retirees’ pension to one single industry was risky — it was even more dangerous to tie the funding for the retirees’ pension to an exclusive licensee.”

“Assuming five local casinos pay a reasonable sum of US$5m each, this will result in US$25m, which is US$10m more than what is being presently required by P.L. 18-56,” he added

Imperial Pacific will be forced into selling its assets to pay off debts and fines. Danny Ewing, Director of Operations for Clear Management, administrator for the company said: “This will include top-of-the-range slot machines, and gaming equipment, including tables and chairs from the world’s top suppliers. As yet we are checking the inventory and the condition of the equipment but imagine there will be great interest from buyers worldwide.”

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Nassima Azmzm

Nassima Azmzm

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