Imperial Pacific vows to hire more locals for Saipan casino

Casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings has assured the government in Saipan that it will hire more locals or U.S. citizens as employees.

Imperial Pacific vows to hire more locals for Saipan casinoBertha Leon Guerrero, VP for human resources at Imperial Pacific, told the Commonwealth Casino Commission that half of the company’s over 1,000 employees are locals and/or U.S. citizens, which complies with the government’s required percentage of 50 percent local workers, Marianas Variety reported.

In July, the Hong Kong-listed casino operator had to let go more than 130 of its foreign workers amid reports of a breached cap on workers in the island this fiscal year.

But in her report to the casino commission, Leon Guerrero indicated that 30 percent of their local workers have either resigned from their jobs or have been terminated “due to performance and attendance.”

Imperial Pacific pointed out that its gaming division is the only unit where a huge number of employees are foreigners, mostly from the Philippines, since there are insufficient “talents on the island.” But Leon Guerrero said the casino company will “continue to exert effort in trying to lure U.S. citizens, especially those who are studying or currently based in the mainland, to come back to the CNMI.”

The casino operator is also looking at hiring more locals when its non-gaming divisions—the hotel and resort—opens. Imperial Pacific’s Saipan subsidiary, 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.

“Currently the import labor is at 45 percent. With only gaming being the major business in which there is insufficient gaming talents on the island, this is not so bad. When the new resort opens with more non-gaming elements, we expect the recruitment of locals to increase handsomely,” the company said in a statement.