Casino operations in Saipan by Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited may cease if the company loses its gaming license. The possible suspension is on the table due to the company admitting that it failed to comply with the CNMI Casino Control Act.
Five Order Violations
According to reports, the Commonwealth Casino Commission and Imperial Pacific International came to an agreement this week regarding violation issues. The gaming company admitted that it was in violation of five orders within the Act.
The order violations include failure to:
- Pay its 2020 annual regulatory fee of $3.1 million
- Comply to an order to settle vendor debts
- Fulfill its minimum capital requirements
- Pay the 2020 $15.5 million casino license fee
- Contribute $20 million to the community benefit fund in both 2018 and 2019
Attorneys representing the Commission and Imperial must now file proposed orders that show the fines and penalties that will be issued to the Saipan operator. It is expected that this will include a license suspension.
Commission Executive Chairman Andrew Yeom is represented by Assistant Attorney General Mike Ernst who has said he will seek a license suspension until the company fully complies with the violated orders.
The maximum fine the company would pay for the violations equal to $808 million. This is a huge amount and Yeom is asking for a smaller $5 million fine to be paid so that a license suspension can be lifted.
It has also been proposed that the fine be increased to $20 million instead of a revocation of the casino license. Both parties involved agreed that they do not want to see revocation occur as it would not be in the best interest of both parties.
Ernst has pointed out that the $20 million fine would be akin to a revocation because Imperial Pacific International would not be able to pay the large amount due to its current financial situation.
Back in September 2020, Imperial Pacific International asked for a nine-year abatement involving its $15.5 million casino licensing fee. The request was made after the firm accused the government of breaching an exclusivity clause that is held by the company, by allowing several slot parlors in the area to continue offering services.
The abatement request was made at a time when the casino operator faced several lawsuits regarding unpaid contractor fees. The company has also been accused of failing to pay several local vendors. These failings are listed in the several violations above set forth by the Commonwealth Casino Commission.