Nearly 6,000 people a day are visiting Imperial Pacific’s “temporary casino” on the Northern Mariana Island of Saipan according to Hong Kong media reports. The company, which owns Best Sunshine and is an investor in the profit stream of Macau junket operator Hengsheng Group, has approval to open a US$7 billion dollar integrated casino resort on the island. Phase I of the Grand Mariana Casino & Hotel Resort may be open before the end of next year.

During the soft opening of the temporary casino in Garapan, which began in July, only about 100 slots and 10 tables have been available. The full allotment of 45 tables is expected to come into play before the end of November this year.

Imperial Pacific (Best Sunshine) was awarded a casino license with a 25 year term and option for 15 year renewal. They stated they would open two hotels and a casino within six months of the start of construction. In March the licence agreement was amended to allow the opening of the temporary casino which the company opened in the T Galleria mall in Garapan. Managing director, Shen Yan told reporters in Hong Kong Tuesday that the company was surprised by the break out number of visitors.

Phase I of the integrated resort will see an investment of about US$600 million by the company. Current estimates place payback from the 300 gaming tables and 500 slot machines as soon as 12-18 months from opening. As many as 180, or 60% of the tables would be devoted to VIP gaming with the remainder available to cash players.