Hong Kong based Imperial Pacific International Holdings is the parent company of Best Sunshine International, operating Best Sunshine Live temporary casino in Saipan a part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Although the temporary casino has just 48 gaming tables, Best Sunshine Live has reported strong results for the first half of 2016.
Best Sunshine Live brought in HK$3.99 billion in overall revenues and made a net profit of HK$837.3 million thanks to a strong showing in its VIP market segment. The high-roller segment generated around 95.7 percent of the casino’s overall revenues as VIP gamblers from Macau, South Korea, China and Hong Kong have chosen Saipan as their preferred destination for high stake gambling. The casino reported that more than 500 VIP gamblers had made over 600 visits to the temporary Saipan casino during the first half of this year.
Encouraged by these results, Best Sunshine has confirmed that it plans to open a second casino in Saipan. The company will collaborate with hotel partners to open out a $2 billion casino resort. Best Sunshine is currently facing a few issues regarding labor after Saipan decided to put in place a cap on foreign labor. This has forced Best Sunshine to send a number of foreign workers back to the Philippines but the company hopes that this will only be for a temporary basis.
Best Sunshine is working with the Saipan government to see if it can get the U.S. federal government to consider raising the cap on foreign workers. The company has strong connections in political circles in the U.S as the ex-director of the CIA and former federal judge is on its board of directors. Another director who is a part of the board advisory committee is an ex- FBI director. Should things go as per plan, Best Sunshine expects the first phase of the new casino project to be opened by 2017, in time for the Chinese New Year (Jan 28).
The president of global capital markets at Imperial Pacific, Shen Yan said that the utilization of gaming tables at the temporary casino was very high and that they have no more space to grow. Shen also stated that the nearly 76 percent of the casino’s VIP customers have financial backers who have already made cash deposits with the casino which reduced the risk of the casino’s risk on gambling losses. Mark Brown, chief executive officer of Best Sunshine International believes that one of the main reasons for the success of the Best Sunshine Live is due to the variety of services on offer to VIP guests.
In a statement, found on asia.nikkei, Brown said “Because of the yachts that [the VIPs] are staying on, the staterooms, having the private 24-hour chefs and other service, staying at the villas, this is what took [our] numbers to the next level. It’s just the overall experience of fishing and scuba-diving and snorkeling and sky-diving, all of the things that go with a beautiful island.”
While casinos in Macau have to pay out 40 percent in taxes, Best Sunshine Live pays the Saipan government no gaming taxes. The casino only pays out business taxes and other special fees which is still a significant amount for the Saipan government.
This article has been updated to reflect the casino at Grand Mariana opening in time for CNY 2017, rather than 2018 as previously reported.