Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) gaming officials want to take a closer look at the financial aspects of casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings (IPI).
On Wednesday, the Marianas Variety reported that members of the Senate Committee on Gaming plan to conduct a tour of IPI’s new Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel Saipan next month. The Resort had a partial opening of its gaming operations in July after repeatedly missing its targeted launch dates.
In advance of that tour, Committee chair Sen. Justo Quitugua has asked the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) to furnish information that will provide “an in-depth understanding of the financial aspects of the gaming industry.” The Committee says it wants the info by September 15.
Among the documents requested by the Committee are a detailed breakdown of gaming-related funds collected and taxed, as well as precise formulas for how those taxes were calculated. The Committee also wants to compare the casino’s rolling chip volume versus its gross gaming revenue.
Quitigua has also requested that Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson submit a status report on IPI’s casino operations, including a casino gaming revenue tax summary. IPI doesn’t actually pay any tax on gaming revenue, despite some Saipan legislators’ ongoing efforts to pass a bill that would impose such a tax, but Quitigua wants to ensure that IPI is paying its full share of Business Gross Revenue Tax.
The CNMI has to approve a fiscal 2018 budget by October 1 and Quitigua said the government “must be informed about all available resources to support government operations.” The requested IPI info “will clarify any doubts or queries on the actual payments made to the CNMI” by IPI.
Saipan issued its first junket operator license last September but it appears the Committee isn’t yet up to speed on the details. It has requested an explanation of “the purpose and goals” of dealing with junkets; what background checks were conducted; and what funds (if any) the government received through junket license approval.
Earlier this month, IPI announced it was looking to raise over $51m from two bond placements. The funds will be used to help complete the unfinished hotel accommodations of its new resort. While the resort’s full complement of amenities now doesn’t have to be ready until 2023, IPI has pledged to finish the initial 329-room hotel by August 2018.