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Commonwealth Casino Commission threatens to suspend IPI gaming license

An Acting Executive Director of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Commonwealth Casino Commission has called for the casino license of Imperial Pacific International to be suspended until it has paid all fees owed to a community benefit fund dating back to 2018.

Under IPI’s Casino License Agreement, the company – which continues to develop the troubled Imperial Palace‧Saipan – is required to contribute an annual US$20 million fee to the community benefit fund, aimed at supporting community projects.

According to acting Executive Director Charlie Atalig, IPI failed to contribute the full US$20 million before 1 June 2018 and 1 October 2019 as required under its license agreement. Local media reported earlier this year that IPI still owes US$37 million of the combined US$40 million for the past two years.

Failure to pay “constitutes a violation of the casino license agreement and breach of contract, both of which constitute offenses,” Atalig said last week, as per a Marianas Variety report. The violation “warrants a suspension of the casino license until such time as all required community benefit fund contributions are fully made.”

Adding that IPI failed to submit “all of the facts which gave rise to the violations,” Atalig said the missing funds were “inimical to the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth” and “would reflect or tend to reflect discredit upon the Commonwealth or its gaming industry.”

He did, however, fall short of requesting the CCC revoke IPI’s casino license, instead pushing for a US$100,000 fine and suspension of the license until all money owing is paid.

The CCC last year issued a complaint against IPI for late payment of its annual US$15 million casino license fee. The payment, originally due on 12 August 2019, was completed two weeks later after the CCC threatened to suspend its casino license.

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