Temporarily closed due to the mass destruction caused by Typhoon Soudelor throughout the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Tinian Dynasty casino operations are expected to remain halted until Tinian Entertainment Co. Ltd, the property’s new investor, obtains licensure from the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission (TCGCC).
Extended closure for casino operations would be the result of licensure delays, according to Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments consultant, Christopher Bishop, adding that the company has no interest in reopening the casino. Due to the extensive damage caused by the typhoon, suspension of casino operations was applied for by the owner and approved by the TCGCC effective Aug. 14 through Sept. 4.
According to Bishop, “Due to the typhoon—last couple of typhoons—we have had a decrease in business mostly tour packages that come to our property. Because of the conditions in Saipan, a lot of those tours have been cancelled or been reimbursed. It has driven our occupancy down to very low occupancy percentages at the hotel. This has caused us to close the casino temporarily starting on Friday at noon and we put in a request from the TCGCC on Tinian to close for three weeks and they granted that to us.”
Tourists having to fly to Saipan rather than the less than 10 minute direct flight to Tinian, and cessation of evening airport operations made a bad situation worse, diminishing hotel tourist traffic. In order to maintain all areas of hotel operation the occupancy rate has to be between 40-50 percent, and is currently 12 percent. Dwindling revenue due to the casino closure will also mean less gaming taxes paid to the government. Weekly meeting between the Dynasty and TCGCC will address updates and reopening issues, according to commission director, Lucia Blanco-Maratita.
In addition to keeping the hotel open and providing casino employees and their families with free meals and rent, new investor Hong Kong Entertainment said no employees would be let go, according to former Mirage and MGM executive, Bishop. “We are trying to take care of them. We are not terminating any of them,” he said.
According to Bishop, more managers will be brought in and the employees will be retained by TEC. He remains optimistic about the Dynasty should the new casino licensee take the reins.