IPI to hire local workers for Garapan casino construction

IPI wants to resume construction of a casino hotel in Garapan.
IPI wants to resume construction of a casino hotel in Garapan.

Imperial Pacific wants to hire local workers if the Commonwealth Lottery Commission finally approves a five-year extension to finish the new casino in Garapan.

Northern Mariana Islands.- With the company unable to hire foreign workers, Imperial Pacific International is seeking locals to resume work on its new casinos in Garapan – if it gets the five-year extension it wants, that is.

Reddie Dela Cruz, IPI Human Resources director, said IPI only has about 40 employees at present, mostly assigned to security. She said that as the company is facing an indefinite suspension of its gaming licence, she doesn’t know where the money to resume construction will come from.

However, she has said that the construction team has started talks with local contractors about hiring local workers if IPI is finally allowed to finish its new IR. The venue was supposed to be completed 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 have been doubts 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.

Gaming companies file complaint against new licence fee

The Superior Court of the Northern Mariana Islands has received a complaint from Mariana Entertainment LLC and MP Holdings LLC, the owners of Club 88 and Saipan Vegas Resort lodged against the Department of Finance.

The lawsuit has been lodged against a new law that doubles the islands’ e-gaming licence fee. The companies warn that if the increased fee is not suspended, 70 of their employees will lose their jobs and the entire electronic gaming industry on Saipan will disappear.

The law signed by Gov Ralph DLG Torres imposes an additional fee of 15 per cent on all electronic gaming devices on Saipan, including machines located within e-gaming facilities or hotels.

The companies, via attorney Michael W. Dotts, stated: “A declaratory judgment is necessary to determine the rights and obligations of the parties as to whether the licence fee can be lawfully assessed.

The bill was proposed by Rep. Ralph Yumul, the brother of the CEO of Imperial Pacific International, a direct competitor to the slot parlour, which the e-gaming operators say causes a conflict of interest.

The Plaintiffs also argued that the Saipan local delegation did not give the Saipan Mayor’s Office the required 30 days to review the bill before it was enacted.

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