Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings (IPI) is changing the way it reports its monthly VIP gambling turnover, in that it won’t be doing it anymore.
In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday, IPI announced that VIP gambling turnover at its temporary gaming venue Best Sunshine Live was “more than US $2.5b” in the month of May. The figure represents an improvement from April’s $2.15b, although by how much the company isn’t saying.
Nor does IPI intend to report such specifics in future filings. Monday’s notice includes the statement that IPI will henceforth announce its specific monthly VIP turnover figure “only when it is less than US $2.5b. Otherwise no announcement will be made therefor.”
The announcement doesn’t explain why the company is opting for this new veil of secrecy, stating only that IPI “will review its business circumstances from time to time and consider to publish monthly gaming net win in due course.”
Best Sunshine Live currently operates only 16 VIP gaming tables, yet its per-table turnover numbers have routinely dwarfed its counterparts in larger gaming jurisdictions such as Macau. The property’s overall monthly total hit an all-time peak of $5.6b in January.
Last November, Bloomberg reported that this phenomenal success had attracted the interest of US financial watchdogs. Saipan is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), which puts it under US federal jurisdiction. IPI has since threatened to “take formal legal actions” against Bloomberg for what IPI claims are “repeated unfounded” reports of financial impropriety.
For the most part, Best Sunshine Live deals directly with its VIP gamblers rather than going through junket operator middlemen. This allows IPI a greater share of the winnings, but also puts the company on the hook for collecting on credit markers. In April, Moody’s Investors Service warned that IPI’s outstanding VIP gambling debts put the company at a “very high risk” of default.
Last week, IPI received conditional approval to commence gaming operations at its permanent gaming venue, the Imperial Pacific Resort, assuming it can assure Saipan regulators that the unfinished property doesn’t pose a threat to the safety of either workers or guests.