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North Marianas – Legislator introduces bill for five Saipan casinos

By - 1 November 2021

CNMI legislator Ralph N. Yumul has presented new bill that would scrap the casino monopoly currently held by Imperial Pacific and introduce as many as five casino licenses to the islands.

The legislation will lessen the license fee for the five licensees to US$5m instead of the current US$15m for one casino licensee. Troubled casino group Imperial Pacific International is facing a host of charges and fines and is likely to be kicked out of the island’s casino sector.

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 world-wide.”

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