Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has been granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the US District Court for the NMI which will prevent a hearing into the possible revocation of its license from getting underway this week.
According to Saipan Tribune, IPI and its subsidiary Best Sunshine International Ltd had requested the TRO pending a determination of its rights and liabilities by an arbitral tribunal. The company has also claimed it expects to receive US$150 million in funding before the end of this month which it plans to use to repay money owed to the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) and resume casino operations at Imperial Palace · Saipan.
The TRO was granted this week after the judge ruled that failure to do so would cause more harm to IPI and Best Sunshine that to the CCC.
“Any revocation of IPI’s license following the CCC’s hearing scheduled for May 24, 25 puts [IPI] at risk of this much needed capital infusion,” the order said. “Therefore the balance of hardships tips decidedly in plaintiffs’ favor.”
This is the third time the CCC’s revocation hearing has been delayed, having originally been scheduled for March before being postponed to 3 May and then 24 May.
It has been widely anticipated that the CCC would revoke IPI’s license, having already suspended the license in May 2021 for failure to comply with certain requirements under its license agreement.
These included IPI’s failure to pay its annual US$15.5 million license fee in August 2020, failure to pay its annual US$3.1 million regulatory fee in October 2020, failure to contribute US$20 million to the community benefit fund in both 2018 and 2019, failure to comply with its minimum US$2 billion capital requirement and failure to comply with a CCC order to pay all money owing to its vendors.
Imperial Palace · Saipan has been closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.