The Government of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) seems to be finally realizing something that most of the gambling industry was already aware of. Imperial Pacific International (IPI), which still holds exclusive casino rights in Saipan through the no-longer functioning Imperial Palace, is not an honorable member of the sector.
About a week ago, CNMI lawmakers traveled to the Philippines to take part in the ASEAN Gaming Summit. The event, which is held on an annual basis, took place from March 19th to 21st to review mechanisms for the summit’s participants to explore gaming in the region of Southeast Asia.
According to media reports, lawmakers learned that Imperial Pacific International might have blindsided them. As a result of the recent findings, Kuam News reported that the situation’s outcome may be unpredictable, and the controversial gambling company may finally lose its exclusive casino rights.
Considering the fact that the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands has been facing certain economic difficulties lately, partly due to the negligence and incompetence demonstrated by IPI, local lawmakers did not have to pay the attendance fee for the ASEAN Gaming Summit. This saved the territory, which is currently controlled by the US, about $2,500 but, unfortunately, the CNMI representatives were still expected to cover their travel fees.
Having this in mind, the House Gaming Committee Representative Ralph Yumul confessed that it has never been the perfect time to spend money when the country’s economy was experiencing financial difficulties, still, he noted that CNMI representatives who visited the ASEAN Gaming Summit gained valuable insight to help the territory recover.
CNMI Lawmakers Could Reconsider Overall Gambling Policy
In a press conference held upon their return from the ASEAN Gaming Summit, CNMI lawmakers revealed that thanks to the annual event they learned that Imperial Pacific International is blacklisted in terms of international gambling. Local lawmakers did not provide any details on how IPI got blacklisted in the first place. However, the gambling operator’s actions regarding Imperial Palace in Saipan have demonstrated repeated incompetence and regular mismanagement that could be embedded at all levels and in the overall business model of the company.
House Gaming Committee’s Vice-Chair Ed Propst shared that lawmakers had enough substantial evidence that the gambling operator has committed enough wrongdoings and mistakes to have their operating permit fully revoked. As a result of the recent revelations, the Government of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is seriously considering the potential revocation of the casino exclusivity rights owned by Imperial Pacific. This has been a matter of consideration and discussion for months, in fact, but such a move had previously been considered unconstitutional.
According to some market experts, the CNMI lawmakers might be preparing to eliminate IPI, with the territory’s Government being confident that foreign investors from South Korea and Taiwan could be willing to invest in building infrastructure in Saipan. Eliminating the exclusivity casino rights of Imperial Pacific International would mean that the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands would have to change its approach to gambling and instead of allowing the operation of one large integrated casino resort, it could consider the establishment of a few smaller operations across the territory.