Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. is feeling the pinch amid the government’s crackdown on foreign workers on the Pacific Island.
Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune that the Hong Kong-listed casino operator already had to let go of more than 130 foreign workers amid a breached cap on workers on the island this fiscal year.
Imperial Pacific’s Saipan subsidiary, Best Sunshine International, also shepherded around 90 employees from the casino in June, according to the report.
Deleon Guerrero pointed that the numbers he mentioned were “just what we’ve licensed,” noting that the figures could go up since they still have to check the exact number with Best Sunshine.
“Some of [the casino employees] we license, some of them we do not license who were affected. We’re trying to balance this gaming and non-gaming issue,” Deleon Guerrero said, according to the news outlet.
Best Sunshine International operates the island’s sole casino—albeit a temporary one, which supports only 50 gaming tables. The casino operator is targeting a January 2017 completion for its permanent casino, the Grand Mariana, which will have more than 250 gaming tables, along with 400 slot machines and the usual assortments of restaurants, bars and clubs.
According to the casino commission executive, Best Sunshine’s response to the issue is to “move up the training” schedules for its remaining local workers, while it is trying to hire workers locally and from the United States.
But if the situation gets worse, the casino plans to focus energy on its VIP operations, where Deleon Guerrero said “a bulk of its revenue is earned through its casino in the T Galleria Mall.”
Laying off workers is just one of Best Sunshine’s worries these days.
Recently, a lawmaker proposed to add a 10% tax on casino gaming revenue on top of the business gross revenue tax. But Deleon Guerrero said Best Sunshine is already paying an exclusive license fee, gross gaming tax, as well as other regulatory fees.
Deleon Guerrero said it’s better to give the casino “a year after the Grand Mariana is completed.”