The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) is in an economic crisis due to Imperial Pacific International’s non-payment of its licence, and itplans to lay off 22 workers.
Northern Mariana Islands.- The indefinite suspension of Imperial Pacific International’s gaming licence has brought economic consequences to the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) as the regulator depends on the annual casino licence payments.
The regulator has confirmed that in order to reduce operation costs, it has announced 20 lay offs without cause.
Andrew Yeom, the CCC’s executive director, said this represents a 60 per cent workforce reduction for CCC as some staff have already voluntarily resigned.
According to the Saipan Tribune, Yeom stated: “It is sad and unfortunate, but a decision had to be made to smartly and cost-effectively defend the Commonwealth against any present and future legal challenges.”
A few weeks ago Yeom called for more casinos in Saipan to increase funds. He said: “It would be better for us [if there are other casinos], but we only have one exclusive licensee.”
The CCC depends on its regulatory fee and receives only $1m annually in the CNMI government’s fiscal year budget.
The Commonwealth Casino Commission board has ordered IPI to pay a penalty of US$6.6m, an annual casino exclusive licence fee of US$15.5m and annual casino regulatory fees of US$3.1m.
IPI has appealed against the decision to suspend its licence for non-payment. It wants the Superior Court in Saipan to determine whether the Covid-19 pandemic could be considered a natural disaster or force majeure.
If the Superior Court finds in its favour, IPI could be exempt from paying its annual licence fee.