The Commonwealth Casino Commission has warned that Public Law 21-38 prohibits the casino operator from employing anyone not licensed by the regulator.
Northern Mariana Islands.- Commonwealth Casino Commission chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero says casino operator Imperial Pacific International has key employees that are unlicensed. He said that IPI’s payment of unlicensed key employees violates Public Law 21-38, which prohibits a casino operator from employing or paying anyone not licensed by the commission.
The casino operator has paid six security guards for their latest pay period, but CCC executive director Andrew Yeom says executive office employees are due pay since August 26. He added that IPI has key executives, including senior advisors, who are unlicensed, violating regulations.
He said these workers had submitted registration requests so they can talk to the commission. Deleon Guerrero told Mariana’s Variety the CCC needs to review the matter with the commission’s legal counsel and decide how to deal with the violations.
IPI has struggled to pay its employees since it halted operations in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In May, the company reported that it had signed a memorandum of agreement with South Korea’s IH Group to secure funding to help it reopen its casino in Garapan and pay some of its obligations, including payroll and outstanding payables to vendors. However, so far there has been no more news on the agreement.
CCC: no funds for arbitration with IPI
The CCC has said that its economic problems mean that it doesn’t have the funds to cover court-mandated arbitration with the casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI).
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has granted IPI’s request for arbitration in its dispute with the CCC over its force majeure defence for non-payment of casino licence fees. However, commission chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said the CCC has turned to governor Ralph DLG Torres to ask for funds.
Deleon Guerrero did not mention the amount needed but said the committee would discuss it in an executive meeting. He noted that the casino licence agreement with IPI expressly states that the force majeure defence does not apply to revocation proceedings involving gaming-related violations.
He said the committee must comply with the federal court order but that he believed non-binding arbitration would be a waste of time and money because since whoever wins can still the matter to court.