Tinian Dynasty investor finally wins casino license but unpaid workers unimpressed

tinian-dynasty-investor-gaming-licenseThe Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino may rise from the ashes now that local regulators have finally approved the gaming license of one of the property’s main investors.

The Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission in the Northern Marianas recently granted a conditional license to Tinian Entertainment Corp (TEC), an investor in the Tinian Dynasty property, whose owner Hong Kong Entertainment (HKE) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December.

TEC’s license approval is viewed as the first step in the company’s complete takeover of the troubled property from HKE. Tinian Dynasty’s casino closed last September and its hotel operations followed suit in March. HKE’s gaming license was officially revoked in May for failure to honor its license commitments.

TEC, an affiliate of Tim Chen‘s Chinese Strategic Holdings Ltd, had been trying to win its gaming license for a year now but the pace quickened this spring as it became clear that HKE wasn’t coming back from the brink. If all proceeds according to plan, the casino-hotel could re-open by December.

However, the news is not producing joy among Tinian Dynasty’s former 200-strong workforce, three-quarters of which have been camped out in the shuttered property in the hopes of collecting months of unpaid wages that HKE had promised to honor but failed to deliver. Some of the workers told the Marianas Variety that they were disappointed that the local government hadn’t secured commitments from TEC to honor HKE’s payroll obligations as part of the takeover plan.

The local utilities company disconnected the property’s water and electricity a couple weeks ago, leaving the squatting workers at the mercy of local community organizations that have been donating food and other supplies.

Many of the stranded staffers are from the Philippines and TEC has volunteered to pay the airfare for employees who wish to go home. But many of the workers believe they are being “chased away” from the property to allow TEC to start its management of the property without any hangover from the previous debacle, and have vowed to stick it out until they’re made whole.