Scientific Game

Saipan gaming commissioner accuses Macau casinos of not reporting real VIP volumes

Friday, 23 February 2018 05:06
Share
Visit us

The Executive Director of the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC), the gaming regulatory body of the Northern Mariana Islands, has attributed the comparatively enormous VIP rolling chip volumes running through Imperial Pacific International’s (IPI) Saipan casino to Macau operators failing to report real VIP numbers.

Edward Deleon Guerrero made the claim in response to an explosive Bloomberg article published earlier this week alleging widespread corruption among government officials and near zero oversight of IPI’s operations.

Imperial Pacific, which beat out one rival bidder to be awarded Saipan’s casino license in August 2014, reported VIP volume of US$32.4 billion in 2016 on just 16 VIP tables at temporary casino Best Sunshine Live, including a record US$3.95 billion in September 2016 – well above the volumes recorded by Macau’s largest casinos. The company has since relocated casino operations to its new Imperial Pacific Resort and has also stopped reporting monthly VIP roll.

Revealing written responses to media on Thursday that he had previously sent as a reply Bloomberg’s inquiries, Deleon Guerrero blamed tax avoidance schemes in other jurisdictions and cited IPI’s “strong network in the VIP market” – stemming from its stake in Macau junket Hengsheng Group – for the inflated Saipan numbers.

“The CCC notes that the rolling volume is large,” he said. “The commonwealth has a low tax structure which the CCC believes dis-incentivizes the tax avoidance schemes believed to be prevalent elsewhere which keep reported volumes lower than actual.

“Other possible contributing factors to Saipan witnessing a very high volume of gambling operations on a per-table basis may be due to combinations of the following factors: IPI’s ownership stems from one of the largest junkets in Macau, it thus has a very strong network in the VIP market; due to strong ties to VIP patrons; China’s anti-corruption campaign has diversified VIP patrons to a new place around the Asia Pacific region such as Saipan and the visa-waiver program available for Chinese players has eased their trips into Saipan.”

Deleon Guerrero also stood by the validity of IPI’s numbers, stating “the numbers being reported are true. The CCC has a full-time Audit and Compliance Division that reviews the daily rolling transactions. The reported gaming activities and more specifically the rolling volumes are true figures.”

Among the allegations made by Bloomberg are that IPI’s influence in Saipan is made possible by close ties to Governor Ralph Torres, who is the nephew of Deleon Guerrero. It also notes that the CCC itself is funded by an annual US$3 million payment by Imperial Pacific.

In response, Delon Guerrero said, “It is safe to assume that IPI’s financial success in its business operations is in the best interest of the CNMI and its people. In this regard, it is reasonable to expect that all CNMI residents have a financial stake in IPI’s success.”

IPI had previously been found to be employing illegal Chinese workers for construction of Imperial Pacific Resort via contractor MCC. MCC has since been replaced, with IPI now pushing to meet an August 2018 deadline for completion of hotel facilities under a new contractor.

 

 

 

 

What's new

VIDEO: Week in Review

VIDEO: Week in Review Inside Asian Gaming takes a look back at the biggest stories of the past week. Friday, 22 June 2018 07:06

Melco hosts workshop on Occupational Safety and Health Management for SMEs

Melco hosts workshop on Occupational Safety and Health Management for SMEs Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited has conducted a workshop in which it shared with local SMEs the latest trends in Occupational Safety & Health Management Certification and Melco’s experience and expertise in the matter. The workshop attracted SME representatives from various industr... Friday, 22 June 2018 06:55

SJM grants Ina Chan 3 million ordinary shares

SJM grants Ina Chan 3 million ordinary shares Ina Chan, a newly appointed executive director at SJM Holdings and third wife of former Chairman Stanley Ho, has been granted share options totaling 3 million ordinary shares, the company has announced. The shares have an exercise price of HK$10.26 per share. Dr Chan was voted to the board at SJM... Friday, 22 June 2018 06:51

Korea’s foreigner-only casino turnover down 5.4% in 2017

Korea’s foreigner-only casino turnover down 5.4% in 2017 Korea’s foreigner-only casinos saw turnover fall 5.4% to KRW1.2 trillion (US$1.1 billion) in 2017 according to figures released this week by the National Gambling Control Commission (NGCC). The fall in casino gaming activity was linked to a similar 6.2% decline in casino visitation to 2.2 million... Friday, 22 June 2018 06:35

Current Issue

Tribal Ambition

Tribal Ambition By Muhammad Cohen and Ben Blaschke   Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos believes the Native American casino operator has two aces in the hole for Japan, especially when it comes to the so-called regional markets beyond major areas. In his presentation at last month’s Japan ... Monday, 04 June 2018 20:55

Social Gathering

Social Gathering By Shaun McCamley   Social casino gaming is booming. In 2017, the global social gaming industry generated a whopping US$106 billion in revenues, with the social casino segment generating US$4.5 billion in revenues. Not surprisingly China, Japan and Korea generated 90% of the games revenue in the... Monday, 04 June 2018 20:44

Redefining Tourism

Redefining Tourism By Muhammad Cohen   In an era when tourism constitutes a growing portion of the global economy, integrated resorts present a potent although frequently misunderstood means for growing visitor arrivals and revenue. It’s not simply the casino but their range of attractions that make IRs such powe... Monday, 04 June 2018 20:37

Japan IR Timeline

Japan IR Timeline By Ben Blaschke   What year for Japan’s first IR? It’s a question that continues to divide industry stakeholders, the answer further clouded by the substantial disparity in opinion offered at last month’s Japan Gaming Congress (JgC) in Tokyo. At the nearer end of the scale, members of the... Monday, 04 June 2018 20:27