CCC director Andrew Yeom informed the commission’s eight remaining staff members of the governor’s instructions.
Northern Mariana Islands.- The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) has finally been advised to suspend its operations due to a lack of funding.
The news was confirmed by the CCC director Andrew Yeom to Mariana’s Variety. He also informed the commission’s eight remaining staff members about the governor’s instructions.
Commission employees received their last paycheck on January 13, 2023.
The commission was funded by an annual regulatory fee of $3.15m, which Imperial Pacific International (IPI), the sole exclusive casino licensee, has not paid since 2019.
Last August, Commonwealth Casino Commissioner Martin Mendiola had already advised the regulator was “at the finish line of its budget” due to IPI’s failure to pay its licence fees.
The chairman of the House Gaming Committee, Rep. Ralph N. Yumul, said they have no intention of abandoning the island’s casino industry.
Its committee is also aware of the pending court-ordered arbitration between the committee and IPI, which requires the presence of a regulator.
Last November, the then-Governor. Ralph DLG Torres awarded $350,000 in court-authorized arbitration costs and appointed Thomas J. Brewer, a Member of the American Arbitration Association, as an arbitrator for a dispute between IPI and the CCC.
The same month, the regulator reported that its revenue for the fiscal year 2022 was $15,001. One dollar was the commission’s share of CNMI revenue appropriated from the general fund, while $15,000 was the “other regulatory fee” paid by casino operator Imperial Pacific International’s vendors and service providers.