In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and a pair of senators have reportedly launched official legislation that could see the remote American territory offer up a second casino license.
According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, the move from Senators Paul Manglona and Edith Deleon Guerrero comes as the current holder of the jurisdiction’s sole casino license, Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited, is facing the real prospect of being wound up in the face of mounting debts. The source detailed that this firm opened its $650 million Imperial Palace Saipan venue in the summer of 2017 but subsequently struggled to complete work on an adjacent 500-room hotel even as its arrears grew.
The future of Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited reportedly became even more precarious in March after its Imperial Palace Saipan property was indefinitely shuttered as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. This state of affairs was purportedly made worse the very next month when the Commonwealth Casino Commission ordered the indefinite suspension of the operator’s Saipan casino license after it was unable to satisfy a range of debts that run to over $25.2 million.
Asia Gaming Brief reported that the legislation from Mangloma and Deleon Guerrero, which is officially entitled Senate Bill 22-23, details the ‘bleak future’ of Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited before going to suggest that the territory should begin investigating ways to seriously improve the state of its local gaming industry. The measure purportedly moreover proposes offering up a second casino license in the event that the Hong Kong-headquartered holder of its current authorization permanently folds.
Reportedly reads a section of Senate Bill 22-23…
“It is more than probable that the exclusive casino operator will not be able to complete the construction of its initial gaming facility and overcome all of its financial and legal problems, which may result in the revocation of its casino license. If the exclusive casino license is revoked, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands should take the opportunity to overhaul the casino industry by revisiting the casino statutory provisions and regulations to improve the industry.”
However, Asia Gaming Brief reported that Senate Bill 22-23 is not universally popular with Tina Sablan from the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives being one of those who is known to be sceptical to offering up another casino license. The Democratic legislator purportedly told the source earlier this month that she believes it is now ‘worthwhile to examine if we even want a casino industry’ and discover ‘whether it even makes sense for us’ in the face of other pending proposals that could also see legalized iGaming brought to the jurisdiction of approximately 52,000 people.