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CNMI could end casino exclusivity

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) could move to end casino exclusivity on the island, as two senators are urging the Government to issue a second casino licence in the event Imperial Pacific International (IPI)’s right to operate a casino is revoked, reports Asia Gaming Brief.

MarianaIslands

The senators criticised IPI and stated that the island’s gaming industry urgently needs a second operator to improve

“It is more than probable that the exclusive casino operator will not be able to complete the construction of its initial gaming facility and overcome all of its financial and legal problems which may result in the revocation of its casino licence,” the senators said in their statement.

“If the exclusive casino license is revoked, the CNMI should take the opportunity to overhaul the casino industry by revisiting the casino statutory provisions and regulations to improve the industry.”

There are no concrete suggestions on who could aim for the second licence should it be established. Currently, the island only has one casino that is closed due to the suspension of the operator’s licence.

Over the past year, IPI struggled to meet requirements to keep its licence intact, failing to pay the licence fees and regulatory penalties, including $15.5m for the exclusive casino licence and $3.1m in annual regulatory fees.

The operator was also ordered by the court to pay almost $2m to USA Fanter Corp for the construction work done on the Imperial Pacific Saipan resort. IPI also has to pay $5.9m to seven construction workers who sued the company over labour and human trafficking violations.

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