IPI requests five-year extension for Garapan casino construction

IPI was supposed to finish its new Garapan casino by February 28.
IPI was supposed to finish its new Garapan casino by February 28.

Imperial Pacific has asked the Commonwealth Lottery Commission for a five-year extension to finish the construction of a new casino in Garapan.

Northern Mariana Islands.- Imperial Pacific International wants to resume construction of a casino hotel in Garapan on Saipan and has submitted a request to the Commonwealth Lottery Commission (CLC) for a five-year extension to finish the development.

The casino operator was supposed to finish its new IR in Garapan by February 28 but failed to meet that deadline.

Tao Xing, IPI senior vice president of marketing and public affairs, said the company is still waiting for a response from the Commonwealth Lottery Commission.

He said the company had submitted a request in January to Gov Ralph DLG Torres but was told to resubmit it to the CLC as it had jurisdiction over IPI’s request. According to Saipan Tribune, Xing resubmitted IPI’s request to the CLC chairman on July 8.

However, there has been doubt over who should make the decision as CCC counsel Michael Ernest argued it wasn’t clear that the CCC had the authority to amend the current casino licence. He added that there is no current enforcement action against IPI regarding the completion date.

Kan Pacific Saipan asks the Superior Court to dismiss complaint against IPI

Kan Pacific Saipan Ltd’s complaint against IPI has been dismissed without prejudice by the Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan.

Kan Pacific had sued IPI for breach of contract. However, the casino operator asked the court to dismiss the case because Kan Pacific failed to join an indispensable party, the CNMI Department of Public Lands (DPL).

IPI argued that the Department of Public Lands is a third-party beneficiary to the contract in dispute and that DPL was indispensable to resolving the suit because it had additional facts and evidence needed to fully determine any liability.

According to Marianas Variety, IPI couldn’t obtain the new lease with DPL due to its inability to meet the requirements imposed by DPL. 

After making three annual payments to Kan Pacific, IPI did not make the payment in 2020, leading to the present lawsuit.

Casino operators interested in Saipan licence

Andrew Yeom, the Commonwealth Casino Commission’s executive director, said several bidders have said they would be interested in Saipan if Imperial Pacific International’s licence is revoked.

Yeom was asked by Gaming Committee vice chair Rep. Christina E. Sablan if the CCC had been contacted by potential bidders for a casino licence. According to the Saipan Tribune, Yeom said: “I cannot tell you who, how many. But yes.” 

He said he couldn’t reveal more details as it was a sensitive issue and IPI’s future hadn’t been decided.

Yeom said he expects IPI could resolve its issues but that if that doesn’t happen, he will advance with the possibility of revoking IPI’s licence.

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