Tinian casino project impossible due to changes in Chinese law, developer says

The casino was going to be the first on the island of Tinian in more than half a decade.
The casino was going to be the first on the island of Tinian in more than half a decade.

China’s ban on gambling-related travel has led Alter City Group to put its project in the Northern Mariana Islands on hold.

Northern Mariana Islands.- Alter City Group has reportedly said that it dropped plans for a casino resort project on the island of Tinian due to China’s ban on gambling-related travel. Johnny Leong, the director of Alter City Group, reportedly wrote to Teresita A. Santos, the Department of Public Lands (DPL) secretary, that the legislation had made the project impossible.

He wrote in response to DPL’s notice of default and notice of violation against Alter City Group. According to The Saipan Tribune, Leong informed Santos that Chinese citizens are now strictly prohibited from any form of travel with the intention of gambling and that casino operators are forbidden from actively marketing to Chinese citizens or facilitating their travel for gambling.

In 2014, Macau-based Alter City Group acquired a lease for 152 hectares of public land on Tinian for a US$360m casino resort project. The Department of Public Lands issued a notice of default and violation on June 9, citing Alter City’s non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the lease agreement.

In his response, Leong also referred to the ongoing turbulence in the global economy. He wrote that Alter City Group had explored alternative markets within the region and that it was doing everything possible to establish a roadmap for consideration before submitting a project update. 

Among the corrective actions mandated by the Department of Public Lands was the completion of the 500-room Plumeria Golf & Casino Resort, featuring 150 corporate villas, an international golf course, a clubhouse with a driving range, a medical centre, farmer’s market, training facilities, retail services, a conservatory, and staff dormitories.

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GAMBLING REGULATION land-based casino