CASINO

Saipan firm eyes $4B casino in Northern Mariana; Reef Casino directors support Fung acquisition

TAGs: Australia, Kirby Garlitos, Northern Marianas, Reef Casino, reef casino trust, Saipan Jinghua, tony fung

Shanghai firm eyes $4B casino in Northern Marianas; Reef Casino directors support Fung acquisitionAnother group of Chinese investors, Saipan Jinghua Investment Inc., expressed its interest to score a casino project on the island of Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands. The company proposes a $4 billion project to build a 300-hectare integrated resort and casino.

Saipan Jinghua’s registered agent, David C. Sablan, told the Marianas Variety that the company has plans to build a 500-room hotel and resort complex in Saipan and a much bigger 500-room resort and casino in Tinian. “We are still in the planning stages,” Sablan said, referring to his client’s $4 billion proposal.

The company didn’t reveal details of location for Saipan project but reports indicate that it has its eye on a plot of land near Bird Island. Bird Island is a surfing destination located on northern tip of the Saipan Island. As far as the bigger Tinian integrated resort and casino project, Saipan Jinghua has set its sights somewhere in the east coast of Tinian, near the boundary of a military retention site.

Saipan Jinghua’s interest in developing a casino project in CNMI makes it the fourth investor with plans to turn the Pacific islands into a premier tourist destination, joining Mega Stars Overseas Ltd., Alter City Group and Bridge Investment Group.

Mega Stars’ Tinian Dynasty remains the lone operating casino in the Northern Mariana but it likely won’t be the only one soon with increased interest in the islands becoming more and more apparent. Bridge Investment plans to build a 300-room casino-hotel at the Tinian Harbor while Alter City Group has already signed a lease agreement with the Department of Public Lands for 155 hectares of land on Tinian’s Puntan Diablo to build its proposed resort and casino.

Representatives from Saipan Jinghua plans to visit Saipan in January 2015 to begin the application process for a similar lease agreement and the permitting process required by the CNMI.

Over in Australia, Reef Casino Trust directors urge its shareholders to take Aquis’ $276 million bid for the casino and run away with it, arguing that a better bid isn’t likely to come out from the woodwork anytime soon. Right now, Aquis has received 81% of the units in the casino and secured federal regulatory approvals to acquire the casino. All that’s left is meeting the required 90% of units from Reef Casino Trust before the acquisition can proceed.

This is why directors, who were administrating the Reef Casino, tried to convince shareholders to accept the bid with the transaction so close to being completed. The offer price is a better number than the trading price of the units before Aquis stepped in to make its proposal, allowing investors to get better returns on their investments.

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